Effects of Taping on Achilles Tendon Protection and Kendo Performance

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: It has been reported that there is a high rate of Achilles tendon injury among kendo athletes. For protection and to support the area, kendo athletes habitually use taping during practice or games. Objective: To investigate the effect of various taping techniques on injury prevention and functional performance in kendo athletes. Design: Case-control study. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: 15 University Kendo Team athletes with at least 2 y kendo experience. Main Outcome Measures: Athletes completed 5 stepping backwards and striking cycles under 4 taping conditions: no taping, athletic taping of ankle joint (AT-Ankle), athletic taping of Achilles tendon (AT-Achilles), and Kinesio-Tex taping of Achilles tendon (KT-Achilles). Jump distance, lower limb angular motion, left foot-ground contact time, Achilles tendon force (ATF), and soleus and medial gastrocnemius muscle activities were measured. Results: Lowest peak ATF was found in AT-Achilles during heel-down phase, with statistically significant difference from KT-Achilles peak force. Significant decline of soleus muscle electromyography amplitude was also found when compared to no taping during heel-down phase and other conditions during pushing phase. Conversely, KT-Achilles showed significant decrease in foot-ground contact time compared with no taping and greater ankle range of motion than in AT-Ankle. Conclusion: To protect the Achilles tendon, AT-Achilles taping is recommended since it tends to decrease ATF. Conversely, to enhance athlete performance, we recommend KT-Achilles taping to speed up kendo striking motion. However, the Achilles tendon must withstand greatest forces concurrently. This finding implies that AT-Achilles taping can protect the injured Achilles tendon and KT-Achilles taping can enhance performance on the kendo striking motion.

Tsai is with the Center for General Education, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Chu, Huang, Liang, and W.-L. Wu are with the Dept of Sports Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. J.-H. Wu is with the Dept of Industrial Engineering and Management, Hsiuping University of Science and Technology, Taichung, Taiwan.

Address author correspondence to Wen-Lan Wu at wenlanwu@kmu.edu.tw.
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