Taping ankles protects knees in sports activities

May 28, 2010
RheumatologyNetwork Staff

Volume 27, Issue 6

Ankle taping not only increases mechanical stability at the ankle joint during the performance of open sports tasks (in an unpredictable situation) but also provides protective benefits to the knee, according to researchers at Fremantle Hospital; the University of Western Australia; and other centers in Fremantle, Western Australia. Taping helps ankle stability by limiting motion and protects the knee by reducing internal rotation moments and varus impulses during both planned and unplanned maneuvers.

Ankle taping not only increases mechanical stability at the ankle joint during the performance of open sports tasks (in an unpredictable situation) but also provides protective benefits to the knee, according to researchers at Fremantle Hospital; the University of Western Australia; and other centers in Fremantle, Western Australia. Taping helps ankle stability by limiting motion and protects the knee by reducing internal rotation moments and varus impulses during both planned and unplanned maneuvers.

Stoffel and colleagues1 used a kinematic and inverse dynamics model to determine ankle and knee joint motion and loading in 22 healthy men who undertook running and sidestepping tasks. Both tasks were randomized to planned and unplanned conditions and undertaken with and without the use of ankle tape.

Internal rotation moments and varus moments at the knee were reduced for all tasks; internal rotation impulse was reduced for sidestepping tasks. Varus impulse during unplanned sidestepping maneuvers was reduced with the use of ankle taping. However, there was a trend toward increased valgus moments and impulse for planned sidestepping trials undertaken with ankle taping. Taping reduced ankle range of motion in all 3 planes. Peak inversion was reduced only for running trials. Average eversion and peak dorsiflexion moments were reduced significantly in sidestepping tasks with the use of taping.

The authors noted that medial collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament injuries may occur through increased valgus impulse during sidestepping maneuvers undertaken with a taped ankle.

1. Stoffel KK, Nicholls RL, Winata AR, et al. The effect of ankle taping on knee and ankle joint biomechanics in sporting tasks. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Mar 25; [Epub ahead of print].