In a recent article from Europe, researchers set out to test whether “neuromuscular taping”, that is kinesiology taping, was able to improve the foot mechanics in a group of amateur runners with foot pronation, as defined by the “Foot Posture Index”. Subjects were only included if they had no current foot or ankle pain or pain in the last 6 months, were aged between 18 and 40 years old, and had to be running more than 45 minutes, three times per week. Some would argue already that there is a flaw in this design, as those that are running reasonably high volumes without any symptoms in the preceding 6 months are perhaps not pronating to a pathological level for their circumstances, so why the desire to change them?
Nevertheless, it becomes more interesting from here! The kinesiology taping (“KT”) group were taped with a supinated foot position, using two pieces of tape and utilising 75% stretch in the tape- certainly not what we would advocate at Rocktape! Whereas the “Sham” group were taped in a neutral position, with two pieces of tape, but applied with no stretch. I would argue that the group headings are in fact incorrect, as the “sham” group is closer to what I would see as “correct” or “therapeutic” taping, whereas this study’s “KT” group is a quasi-mechanical correction that would be better served with a intervention better designed for this purpose- eg rigid tape or an orthosis perhaps?
So what were the findings? The quasi-mechanical “KT” group displayed an “improved” foot position in a static test, whereas the “sham” (but perhaps “true” method) taping group had a better effect at assisting midfoot and forefoot control in terminal stance. So this study is actually a brilliant example of “less is more” approach when it comes to kinesiology taping. It often seems that the less you stretch the tape, the better the outcome.
This study is also a prime example of why we should never trust the abstract to tell us the facts. This would have us believe that “sham” taping is perhaps superior to “KT” in this study when, in my opinion, the methodology reveals a completely different picture.
Aguilar, M.B., Abian-Vicen, J., Halsted, J., & Gijon-Nogueron, G., (2015) Effectiveness of neuromuscular taping on pronated foot posture and walking plantar pressures in amateur runners. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport dx.doi.org/10.1016j.jsams.2015.04.004