Time-dependent effects of kinesio tape on shoulder range of motion

October 14, 2015 / By: Berthiaume J., Gorman B., Higgins K., Northey H., Wilson, H. and Duoos, B.

The use of kinesio taping as a method to aid in prevention and treatment of joint injury has experienced major increases in popularity over the last decade. The theorized effects of kinesio tape (KT) include an increased range of motion thought to reduce risk of and help in rehabilitation of joint injuries.

Purpose: The primary purpose of this study was to determine if KT increased shoulder range of motion in a healthy population of males and females.  A secondary purpose was to establish if KT exerted its effects immediately or only after the recommended 24 hour application period.

Methods: Thirty collegiate females (ht.=167.8±6.68 cm; wt. = 64.81±9.18 kg; age =20.47±0.90 yrs.) and thirty collegiate males (ht. = 181.44±7.46cm; wt. = 4.40±12.96 kg; age =21.17±1.12 years) volunteered to participate in this study. Baseline shoulder hyperextension was initially measured using a digital inclinometer (Saunders, 1998) with the subjects prone with palms facing upward. Two “Y” strips of KT were then applied from the acromion process to the posterior surface of C5 and also from the lateral inferior side of the deltoid muscle to the anterior side of the acromion process. Subject’s shoulder hyperextension was measured again immediately after tape application. Twenty females and 20 males wore tape for 24 hours and hyperextension was measured a third time. Two-sample t-tests were run in Minitab 16 to determine difference.  

Results: Three two-sample t-tests (females measured immediately: p = 0.487, p > 0.05; females measured after 24 hours: p =0.466, p > 0.05; males measured immediately: p =0.638, p >0.05) did not identify differences between hyperextension angles before and after KT application. Males wearing KT for 24 hours were different pre- and post-tape application (p=0.024, p < 0.05). 

Conclusion: This research implies that the use of KT on a healthy joint may not have the same effects as it has been theorized to have on an injured joint. These results are important in the field of performance enhancement for uninjured athletes.