Randomized Control Trial Investigating the Effects of Kinesiology Tape on Shoulder Proprioception

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context:

Athletes participating in upper-extremity-dominant sports such as softball and volleyball are at increased risk for glenohumeral-joint pain and injury. For these athletes, an integral part of many injuryprevention and -rehabilitation programs includes improving joint proprioception. One way to measure joint proprioception is through the reproduction of joint angles, or joint-reposition sense (JRS). Kinesiology tape is purported to enhance neuromuscular feedback; therefore, it may influence JRS. However, conflicting findings and the lack of research in the upper extremity warrant further investigation.

Objective:

To determine the effects of kinesiology tape on shoulder-joint proprioception by actively reproducing joint angles, or measurement of JRS.

Design:

Randomized controlled trial.

Setting:

College laboratory.

Participants:

9 men and 7 women 24 ± 3 y old.

Intervention:

SpiderTech kinesiology tape precut Shoulder Spider was applied to the shoulder of participants block randomized to the experimental group, following product-specific instructions, to measure its influence on JRS compared with a control group.

Main Outcome Measurement:

JRS-error scores in shoulder flexion, extension, internal rotation, and external rotation (ER).

Results:

There was a significant interaction between groups pre- to postintervention resulting in decreased JRS errors in flexion (P = .04) and ER (P = .03) in the experimental compared with the control group. The 95% confidence intervals suggest a clinically relevant difference in the variability of JRS errors between postintervention movements for the experimental group in flexion and ER, such that the control group demonstrated much more variability in JRS errors than the experimental group.

Conclusions:

After the application of kinesiology tape the JRS errors were smaller in flexion and ER. This may be of clinical significance in improving proprioception and thus improving joint stability. Additional research should determine the effectiveness of kinesiology tape in reducing joint injury.

Burfeind is with Town Center Orthopaedics, Reston, VA. Chimera is with the Dept of Athletic Training, Amherst, NY.

Address author correspondence to Sean Burfeind at seanb@towncenterortho.com.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation