There has been a significant amount of research recently that has highlighted the valgus collapse of the knee as a major risk factor for knee pain and ACL injuries. Clinically this has been reflected in the growing trend of teaching hip external rotation exercises for those presenting with patellofemoral pain. Rocktape’s mantra of taping movement, not muscles, is reflected in the spiral lower limb taping that assists athletes to maintain the correct lower limb alignment in rehabilitation exercises and also in their training. This taping technique is a “postural correction” technique, meaning we place the leg in the position we want it in, rather than in a lengthened position that is typical of many kinesiology taping techniques. Therefore the leg is positioned in some knee flexion and some hip flexion and external rotation. The tape can run from the foot all the way up to the gluteals, or in shorter sections depending on the assessment findings of where the athlete is losing control of the movement. That is, if the athlete appears to collapse at the foot and then the leg follows, the tape could start at the foot, but if the knee collapses inwards and pushes the foot into pronation with it, then the tape could be applied from the knee up.
If starting at the foot, an unstretched inch of tape is applied to the lateral border of the foot, and brought up under the medial arch, over the anterior ankle, around the back of the calf, across the medial aspect of the knee, spiralling across the thigh to the gluteals, finishing at the PSIS (Posterior superior iliac spine.
If starting at the knee, then an unstretched inch of tape is applied to the medial aspect of the knee and the same course across the thigh to the gluteals and PSIS is followed.
The spiral tape provides the athlete with increased cutaneous input as their leg collapses inwards during exercise or training, reinforcing the hip external rotator activation that has been rehearsed in their rehabilitation exercises, ultimately assisting in their neuromuscular learning and control. This may be particularly useful as the athlete fatigues and the neuromuscular control of the lower limb is compromised further.