The Effects of Taping on Muscle Activity and Knee Control during Stair Descent in People with and without Patellofemoral Pain

Tobin, Sue (2022) The Effects of Taping on Muscle Activity and Knee Control during Stair Descent in People with and without Patellofemoral Pain. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Background: Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is a common musculoskeletal disorder, which is poorly understood and is often associated with poor outcomes. Although there is a lack of consensus linked to many of the factors associated with PFP, key issues for individuals with PFP include impairment of muscle activity and movement control. This thesis explored the effects of a taping technique which purports to inhibit Vastus Lateralis (active tape) on muscle activity and lower limb kinematics during stair descent.
Method: Thirty asymptomatic participants and sixteen participants with PFP performed a stair descent task; the asymptomatic participants under three different taping conditions (active, neutral and a no tape control) and on two different riser heights; and the symptomatic participants under the same three taping conditions but on the high riser height only. For all participants, surface electromyography was recorded from vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and gluteus medius, alongside inertial measurement unit recordings of tibial and patellar accelerations and angular velocities. For the PFP participants, numerical pain rating scale and Likert scale data for perceived stability were also recorded, with the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score – Patellofemoral and the Targeted Intervention for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome assessments being recorded to help describe the participants.
Results: In the asymptomatic cohort, the active tape altered the sagittal plane angular velocities, the anterior-posterior tibial accelerations, the patellar coronal plane angular velocity, and the anterior-posterior patellar accelerations, with the neutral tape altering coronal plane tibial angular velocities. The higher riser created significant increases in stance phase duration and muscle activity as well as changes in both the tibial and patellar kinematics. However, the low riser also had an effect on several of the lower limb kinematic parameters The active tape in the symptomatic cohort demonstrated Vastus Lateralis inhibition during the single leg stance sub-phase. Additionally, in the symptomatic cohort, both the active tape and neutral tape conditions significantly decreased perceived pain and improved perceived knee stability. Kinematic changes were also seen in the coronal plane for both the tibia and patellar and transverse plane for the patella, primarily due to the active tape condition.
Conclusion: Both the active and the neutral taping techniques could be a useful adjunct to existing methods of treatment currently used in clinical practice for PFP. However, the active taping technique showed the greater beneficial effect on reported pain and perceived stability, which may be useful in the facilitation of rehabilitative exercises and activities of daily living such as stair descent. This was the first study to investigate these taping techniques on symptomatic participants, and further research is warranted to determine longer term effects.

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