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In a recent cross over trial with a small group of four kids with cerebral palsy (GMFCS level 1), kinesiology tape was shown to improve the kids’ functional scores.

In this trial, the investigators tested three tasks with the kids, both with and without tape to see if the tape helped.  They looked at sit to stand (STS), the paediatric balance scale (PBS) both static and dynamic elements, and the “Timed up and Go” test (TUG).

In the STS test, the investigators measured time taken to stand, and also joint angles throughout the movement.  For the PBS, certain tasks were assessed/scored according to the criteria of the scale.  In the TUG, the kids were asked to stand from a chair, walk 3m, turn around and return to the chair to sit.

The kids were randomly assigned to tape first or no tape, with the tape being applied to the quads and tibialis anterior muscle groups.

The results showed that in the STS task with tape in situ, the kids were significantly quicker to complete the task, and did so with significantly less peak ankle flexion.  Whilst not statistically significant, the results showed a trend towards increased knee extension at the end of the STS task.  In the TUG, the kids completed the test significantly quicker when taped compared with not taped.  The PBS showed significant improvement with tape in situ in the more dynamic tasks but no significance in the untaped condition,

So how does this help?  Whilst it is a very small study and therefore lacks power and potential generalisability, the results found are promising as an adjunct to the standard therapeutic interventions for these kids.  The study findings of the dynamic functional tasks indicate that when taped, the kids demonstrated better body alignment, making it easier to stabilise the centre of gravity, therefore allowing more efficiency with movement.  Further studies of this population with larger sample sizes  will allow these results to be interpretted with more certainty, but this study adds to our body of knowledge of using kinesiology tape in a neurodevelopmental population.

Da Costa, C.S.N, Rodrigues, F.S., Leal, F.M., & Rocha, N.A.C.F., (2013).  Pilot study: Investigating the effects of Kinesio Taping on functional activities in children with cerebral palsy.  Developmental  Neurorehabilitation 16 (2) 121-128

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/17518423.2012.727106