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Kinesio taping has no effect on muscle strength

PainSci » bibliography » Vercelli et al 2012
Tags: devices, exercise, controversy, taping, treatment, self-treatment, debunkery

One article on PainSci cites Vercelli 2012: The Dubious Science of Kinesiology Tape

PainSci notes on Vercelli 2012:

Shocker: this experiment found that applying athletic taping had no effect on muscle strength: “These results do not support the use of kinesiotape applied in this way to change maximal muscle strength in healthy people.”

Advocates of taping have protested that a study of healthy subjects is irrelevant, but it’s clear that tape is routinely, fashionably used on/by many serious and elite athletes who are fighting fit and not “injured” enough for it to be likely to make a meaningful difference to this research. In other words, if tape can’t enhance the strength of an average healthy athlete, it probably can’t do it for a slightly injured elite one either.

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the immediate effects on maximal muscle strength of kinesiotaping (KT) applied to the dominant quadriceps of healthy subjects.

DESIGN: Single-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial.

SETTING: "Salvatore Maugeri" Foundation.

PARTICIPANTS: With ethical approval and informed consent, a convenience sample of 36 healthy volunteers were recruited. Two subjects did not complete the sessions and were excluded from the analysis.

INTERVENTIONS: Subjects were tested across 3 different sessions, randomly receiving 2 experimental KT conditions applied with the aim of enhancing and inhibiting muscle strength and a sham KT application.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Quadriceps muscle strength was measured by means of an isokinetic maximal test performed at 60 and 180 degrees per second. Two secondary outcome measures were performed: the single-leg triple hop for distance to measure limb performance and the Global Rating of Change Scale (GRCS) to calculate agreement between KT application and subjective perception of strength.

RESULTS: Compared with baseline, none of the 3 taping conditions showed a significant change in muscle strength and performance (all P> 0.05). Effect size was very low under all conditions (≤0.08). Very few subjects showed an individual change greater than the minimal detectable change. Global Rating of Change Scale scores demonstrated low to moderate agreement with the type of KT applied, but some placebo effects were reported independently of condition.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicated no significant effect in the maximal quadriceps strength immediately after the application of inhibition, facilitation, or sham KT. These results do not support the use of KT applied in this way to change maximal muscle strength in healthy people.

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