Does the application of tape influence quadriceps sensorimotor function in knee osteoarthritis? Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: Using additional data from two previously reported studies, the aim was to determine the effects of immediate and short-term continuous (3 weeks) application of knee tape on quadriceps sensorimotor function in individuals with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA). METHODS: A within-subjects study (n = 18) and a randomized controlled trial (n = 87) were performed using community volunteers. Therapeutic tape (patellar realignment and soft-tissue unloading) was compared with control (placebo) tape and no tape. Outcome measures included knee joint position sense, isometric quadriceps strength and electromyographic quadriceps onset during stair descent. RESULTS: Application of therapeutic tape worsened joint position sense (variable error) at a knee angle of 40 degrees (P < 0.01), but did not immediately alter any other sensorimotor parameter. Even after 3 weeks of wearing tape continuously, sensorimotor function was not altered. Furthermore, no differential effect of tape was noted when participants were dichotomized into those with poor and good sensorimotor scores at baseline. CONCLUSIONS: Neither immediate application nor continuous use of tape (for 3 weeks) appears to influence sensorimotor function in people with knee OA. Alterations in sensorimotor function cannot explain the pain-relieving effects of therapeutic tape observed in this population.

publication date

  • March 1, 2004