Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if placing kinesiology tape on the posterior lower limbs helps preserve runner gait in a fatigued state. The hypothesis was that the elastic properties of the tape may help the runners push off with each step.
Methods: Sixty healthy participants (age= 26.7 + 4.3 yrs, height= 1.72 + 0.09 m, body mass= 75.4 + 17.0 kg: mean + SD) engaged in a baseline 90-second running gait analysis at 6 mph without kinesiology tape. Participants then completed an Åstrand cycle ergometer maximal test until they reached maximal volitional exhaustion and had over 8 mmol/l blood lactate, which correlates with maximal to near maximal exercise effort. Following this, participants were randomized to one of two interventions: 1) Intervention, which had kinesiology tape placed on the back of the lower limbs bilaterally from their gluteal fold to their heel under tension or 2) Control, no-tape group. All participants then engaged in a running gait analysis in a fatigued state at 6 mph. Researchers used a 2-way repeated measures analysis of variance considering fatigue (pre-fatigue, post-fatigue) and group (tape, no-tape) as subject factors.
Results: There were no statistically significant within-group differences amongst the groups. However, in fatigued runners kinesiology tape placed on the back of the lower limbs was shown to decrease hip functional range of motion, step length, and stride length bilaterally more than participants who did not receive kinesiology tape.
Conclusions: Preliminarily this suggests kinesiology tape placed exclusively on the back of the lower limbs of a fatigued runner will alter and potentially impair running gait by reducing stride length at submaximal running intensities.
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