Background: Shoulder problems are a common complaint of the musculoskeletal system. Physical therapists treat these patients with different modalities such as exercise, massage, and shoulder taping. Although different techniques have been described, the effectiveness of taping has not yet been established. The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of usual physical therapy care in combination with a particular tape technique for subacromial impingement syndrome of the shoulder compared to usual physical therapy care without this tape technique in a primary healthcare setting. Methods and design. An economic evaluation alongside a randomized controlled trial will be conducted. A sample of 140 patients between 18 and 65 years of age with a diagnosis of subacromial impingement syndrome (SAIS) as assessed by physical therapists will be recruited. Eligible patients will be randomized to either the intervention group (usual care in combination with the particular tape technique) or the control group (usual care without this tape technique). In both groups, usual care will consist of individualized physical therapy care. The primary outcomes will be shoulder-specific function (the Simple Shoulder Test) and pain severity (11-point numerical rating scale). The economic evaluation will be performed using a societal perspective. All relevant costs will be registered using cost diaries. Utilities (Quality Adjusted Life Years) will be measured using the EuroQol. The data will be collected at baseline, and 4, 12, and 26 weeks follow-up. Discussion. This pragmatic study will provide information about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of taping in patients presenting with clinical signs of SAIS. Trial registration. Trial registration number: NTR2575. © 2011 Kalter et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.