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Taping changes how knees feel, which might affect pain

PainSci » bibliography » Callaghan et al 2012
Tags: etiology, treatment, taping, patellar pain, IT band pain, running, pro, controversy, debunkery, devices, arthritis, aging, pain problems, knee, leg, limbs, overuse injury, injury, exercise, self-treatment, tendinitis

Three articles on PainSci cite Callaghan 2012: 1. The Complete Guide to IT Band Syndrome2. The Complete Guide to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome3. The Dubious Science of Kinesiology Tape

PainSci commentary on Callaghan 2012: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

After showing that patellar taping improved proprioception (see Callaghan 2002), this straightforward study of brain activity is small and un-powerful, but it also isn’t trying to prove much: just that “patellar taping modulates brain activity in several areas of the brain during a proprioception knee movement task.” This tends to support the notion that taping changes how the knee feels, at least temporarily, which may in turn have an effect on pain.

~ Paul Ingraham

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.

BACKGROUND: Patella taping is a common treatment modality for physical therapists treating patellofemoral pain. However, the mechanisms of action remain unclear, with much debate as to whether its efficacy is due to a change in patellar alignment or an alteration in sensory input.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the sensory input hypothesis using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) when taping was applied to the knee joint during a proprioception task.

DESIGN: An observational study with patellar taping intervention.

PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: Eight healthy, right leg dominant male volunteers participated in a motor block design study. Each performed two right knee extension repetitive movement tasks; one simple and one proprioceptive. These tasks were performed with and without patellar taping and were auditorally paced for 400 s at 72 beats/min (1.2 Hz).

RESULTS: The proprioception task without patellar tape caused a positive Blood Oxygenation Level Dependant (BOLD) response bilaterally in the medial supplementary motor area (SMA), cingulate motor area (CMA), basal ganglion (BG) and thalamus and medial primary sensory motor cortex (SM1). For the proprioception task with patellar tape there was a decreased BOLD response in these regions. In the lateral primary sensory cortex (S1) there was a negative BOLD response with less activity for the proprioception task with tape.

LIMITATIONS: This study may be limited by a small sample size, a possible learning effect due to a non-random order of tasks and a single joint knee extension task.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated that patellar taping modulates brain activity in several areas of the brain during a proprioception knee movement task.

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