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Kinesiology Taping and the World Wide Web: A Quality and Content Analysis of Internet-Based Information   

Authors: Beutel BG, Cardone DA

Due to limited regulation of websites, the quality and content of online health-related information has been questioned as prior studies have shown that websites often misrepresent orthopaedic conditions and treatments.  Kinesiology tape has gained popularity among athletes and the general public despite limited evidence supporting its efficacy.  The primary objective of this study was to assess the quality and content of Internet-based information on kinesiology taping.  An Internet search using the terms “Kinesio tape” and “kinesiology tape” was performed using the Google search engine.  Websites returned within the first two pages of results, as well as hyperlinks embedded within these sites, were included in the study.  The quality of the website was determined by the Health On the Net (HON) score, an objective metric based upon recommendations from the United Nations for the ethical representation of health information.  The majority of the websites (71%) were commercial.  Out of a total possible 16 points, the mean HON score among the websites was 8.9 points out of a possible 16 points (SD 2.2 points).  The number of misleading features was significantly higher than the balanced features (p < 0.001).  Fifty-eight percent of sites used anecdotal testimonials to promote the product.  Only small percentages of websites discussed complications, alternatives, or provided accurate medical outcomes.  Overall, commercial sites had a greater number of misleading features compared to non-commercial sites (p = 0.01).  Therefore, the authors concluded that websites discussing kinesiology tape are predominantly of poor quality and present misleading, imbalanced information.  It is of ever-increasing importance that healthcare providers work to ensure that reliable, balanced, and accurate information be available to Internet users.

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