Neuromuscular properties and functional aspects of taped ankles

H Lohrer, W Alt, A Gollhofer
American Journal of Sports Medicine 1999, 27 (1): 69-75
We used electromyographic and goniometric methods to test 40 subjects to describe the neuromuscular and biomechanical adaptation of the ankle with respect to application of two different adhesive tapes and to exercises. The neuromuscular responses to inversion injury simulation, together with the mechanical displacements of the joint complex, were analyzed before and after controlled athletic exercises. The proprioceptive amplification ratio was calculated on the basis of the integrated reflex electromyographic results and on the maximum inversion amplitude. Relevant stability gains were achieved immediately after applying tape. There was reduced tape stability after athletic exercise for one of the two tape materials tested. No further loosening was detected, even after prolonged wearing of tape (24 hours). Compared with the unprotected ankle, the taped ankle had a significant increase in the proprioceptive amplification ratio. Both fatigue and mechanical loosening may be responsible for the significant reduction in this ratio immediately after exercise. After the 24-hour interval, the ratio was increased, which could be explained by physiologic neuromuscular regeneration and mechanical restabilization of the tape itself. The sensitivity of the proprioceptive amplification ratio, both to external stabilization and to internal fatigue, supports its potential value to quantify functional joint stability.

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