Effects of taping on thumb alignment and force application during PA mobilisations Academic Article uri icon


  • Work related thumb pain (WRTP) is a major problem among manipulative physiotherapists. Therapists who maintain the thumb joints in an extended alignment during PA mobilisation experience less WRTP. The purposes of this study were to investigate what effect taping of the thumbs has on thumb alignment during mobilisation and to gain normative data on the mobilisation forces applied by student physiotherapists. Forty final year student physiotherapists participated and were asked to apply a grade III PA mobilisation onto the C7 vertebra of one of 32 asymptomatic models. Participants were then instructed to apply the same mobilisation onto a force measurement instrument, in both the tape and no tape conditions, while the alignment of their metacarpophalangeal (MCP) and interphalangeal (IP) joints was noted via video recorder. Thumb alignment improved in 72.5% of participants post taping, with significant increases in the number of MCP joints maintained in a neutral alignment (p < 0.05). The mean peak mobilisation force applied by the students was 70.9 N. Taping of the thumbs prior to PA mobilisation improved thumb alignment during mobilisation in this cohort of undergraduate students, thus potentially influencing one of the contributory factors to WRTP.

publication date

  • June 2011