The Effects of Therapeutic Tape on Pain, Range of Motion, Power, Balance and Strength in Physically Active Individuals with Patellar Tendinopathy
Master of Science
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Patellar tendinopathy is a common injury found among active populations. Typically, tendon pain and tenderness are the most prevalent symptoms associated with patellar tendinopathy and can range from mild to severe. This can be detrimental for active individuals, considering that the presence of these symptoms can also negatively affect range of motion (ROM), power, balance, and strength. Currently, there is much discrepancy within the literature regarding the effectiveness of conservative treatments like Kinesio tape (KT) or Leukotape (LT). Consequently, it is unknown which type of therapeutic tape is beneficial for decreasing the common symptoms of this injury when compared to no tape (NT) or placebo tape (PT). Therefore, the purpose of this Master’s thesis study was to examine the effects of therapeutic taping on pain, ROM, power, balance, and strength in physically active male and female adults between the ages of 18 and 45, with patellar tendinopathy. Using purposive sampling, ten participants were recruited (M = 25 years; SD = 8.0). Participants committed to four test sessions, each separated by at least one day of rest. One session was allocated to each of the following conditions: NT, PT, LT, and KT. The baseline testing session involved NT and the subsequent taping sessions were randomized for each participant. During the initial NT session, participants were informally interviewed about his/her injury. The participant’s pain level was then measured and the testing sequence was implemented as follows: ROM of the knee joint, strength, power, and balance measures. Pain levels were also measured once again after the participant performed the balance task. To analyze the differences in perception of pain across the different tapes and times of administration, a 4 x 2 (Tape [KT, LT, NT, PT] x Time [Pre, Post]) repeated measures factorial ANOVA was conducted. To examine the potential effects of different taping conditions on ROM, power, balance, and strength, a one-way ANOVA, with taping condition as a repeated measures factor was used. There were no substantial differences found regarding pain, ROM, and power, indicating the effectiveness of therapeutic tape is context specific. From a clinical perspective, therapeutic tape had a tendency to reduce further pain and increase ROM when compared to NT and PT. Strength and balance performances were also substantially improved with the KT application. These results carry several clinical implications that may supplement current rehabilitation procedures for physically active individuals recovering from this injury. The application of KT could be the treatment of choice for health care providers who are considering therapeutic taping as a potential treatment intervention. Future research should consider incorporating more sophisticated laboratory equipment (e.g., EMG) in order to determine the underlying effects associated with therapeutic tape in pathological populations.