The effect of three types of strapping on chronic ankle instability syndrome
Background: Acute ankle sprains and chronic ankle instability syndrome (CAIS) may be managed effectively through conservative management approaches such as strapping. There are two main types of strapping viz. rigid tape which is used to stabilise the joint and limit joint motion and elastic tape which permits joint motion but provides dynamic support. Kinesio™ tape is becoming increasingly popular in the management of various conditions. It is reportedly beneficial in reducing pain, improving circulation, increasing proprioception and correcting muscle function. Due to claimed benefits of Kinesio™ tape, it should, in theory, be beneficial in the management of individuals with CAIS particularly in terms of reducing pain and improving proprioception. AIM: To investigate the effect of three types of strapping applied in the method described for the application of Kinesio™ tape in the management of CAIS. METHODS This study consisted of three groups of 15 participants (recruited through convenience sampling) with each group receiving a different tape (i.e. rigid, elastic or Kinesio™ tape), all three groups, however, received the same taping method which was the Kinesio™ tape functional correction application. After obtaining informed consent each participant underwent a case history, physical examination and a foot an ankle orthopaedic examination. Thereafter, baseline measurements of subjective pain rating (NRS-101), pain threshold (analogue algometer), ankle dorsiflexion, plantarflexion and inversion (analogue goniometer) and proprioception (Biodex Biosway portable balance system) were documented. Depending on the group, the particular tape was then applied and a follow up consultation was made for two to three days later where the tape was removed, measurements were reassessed and the tape was reapplied. At the final consultation three to four days later, the tape was removed and final measurements were assessed and documented. Statistical intra- (using Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test) and inter-group (using the Mann-Whitney U-test) analyses of the data were performed due to a skewed distribution of the variables. Data was analysed using SPSS version 21.0 with the level of significance set at 0.05. RESULTS The mean (± SD) age of the participants was 24.8 (4.7) and there were 23 male participants in total. Intra-group analyses of subjective outcome measurements showed significant increases (p < 0.05) in subjective pain rating in all three groups across all consultations. Similarly, intra-group analyses of objective outcome measurements found significant increases (p < 0.05) in pain threshold and dorsiflexion range of motion in all three groups across all consultations. Plantarflexion and inversion range of motion also showed significant increases (p < 0.05) but these were not consistent across all consultations. Intra-group analyses of the sway index showed no significant improvements (p > 0.05) in Groups Two and Three across the three consultations. Only Group One showed significant increases during the eyes open foam surface (EOFoS) (p = 0.013) and eyes closed foam surface (ECFoS) (p = 0.047) test conditions between Consultations One and Two. Inter-group analyses of subjective outcome measurements showed no significant increases (p > 0.05) in subjective pain rating across each of the three consults in all three groups. Inter-group analyses of objective outcome measurements revealed a significant increase in pain threshold (p = 0.040) between Groups Two and Three at Consultation One. There was a significant increase in plantarflexion between Groups One and Three at Consultation Two (p = 0.021) and Consultation Three (p = 0.030). There were no other significant results amongst the three groups. CONCLUSION The results suggest that pain rating, pain threshold and ankle dorsiflexion would improve if taping is applied in the manner described for Kinesio™ tape irrespective of the type of taping used in the management of CAIS. The taping method did not result in a significant difference in proprioception. Further studies, with larger sample sizes are required to confirm the findings of this study and to determine the role of taping in the management of CAIS.