Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Study Spotlight: Kinesio Tape and Dynamic Balance w/ Fatigue & Chronic Ankle Instability

By: Joel Luedke

Kinesio tape is something that has been around for awhile but continues to grow in popularity as you see many high level athletes utilizing it for competition at some very high level events (see the Olympics and some crazy colors and designs).  It can be a very effective modality but is it able to provide support either statically or dynamically?  This study take a look at people with ankle instability and if kinesio tape helped with their dynamic balance.

What They Did:
Researchers looked at people with chronic ankle instability (CAI) and compared different versions of ankle taping including kinesio taping (KT), non-elastic tape and no tape.  They then fatigued the ankle muscles of the subjects using an isokinetic apparatus.  Dynamic and neuromuscular control were assessed using the Y-Balance Test and muscle activity was recorded using one-channel vibromyography (VMG).

What They Found:
No significant differences were found in dynamic balance testing between pre- and post-fatigue condition for each group and between groups.  The results showed that there was no significant effect on dynamic balance and muscle activity following produced fatigue in individuals with CAI.

What Does it All Mean:
Kinesio tape can be a very useful tool but using it as a stabilizing modality isn't supported.  This can often be a common misconception in using the kinesio tape that it is 'stabilizing'.  With high velocity movements such as cutting during a sport or an overhead movement such as spiking a volleyball the tape will not be able to stabilize that joint with just one or two strips supporting whatever structure we are targeting.  

This does NOT mean kinesio tape isn't helping.  There are plenty of other ways that it can be beneficial, especially when it comes to proprioceptive feedback of the treated joint.  Utilizing it on an ankle or shoulder can still provide benefit to the athlete but it may not be in a stabilizing manner but that doesn't take away the possibility of helping.

Don't use kinesio tape to 'support' a joint if there is instability but use it as an aid in rehab and management of pain and when the time is right to return to activity use it as a proprioceptive aid.

Source: Kodesh, E. The effect of kinesiotape on dynamic balance following muscle fatigue in individuals with chronic ankle instability.  Research in Sports Medicine. 23(4). 2015. 367-78.

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