Kinesio Tex tape (KT) is used to prevent and treat sportsrelated injuries and to enhance muscle performance. It has been proposed that the direction of taping may either facilitate or inhibit the muscle by having different effects on cutaneous receptors that modulate excitability of the motor neurons. This study had 2 goals. First, we wished to determine if KT application affects muscle performance and if the method of application facilitates or inhibits muscle performance. This was assessed by measuring isokinetic knee extension peak torque in the knee extensor. Second, we assessed neurological effects of taping on the excitability of the motor neurons by measuring the reflex latency and action potential by electromyography (EMG) in the patellar reflex. The study was a single-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial with 28 healthy volunteers with no history of knee injuries. Participants received facilitative KT treatment, inhibitory KT treatment, or Hypafix taping of the knee extensor. There were significant differences in the peak torque between 3 treatments (F(2,54)=4.873, P<0.01). Post hoc analysis revealed that facilitative KT treatment resulted in higher knee extensor peak torque performance than inhibitory KT treatment (P=0.036, effect size 0.26). There were, however, no significant differences in the reflex latency (F(2,54)=2.84, P=0.067) nor in the EMG values (F(2,54)=0.18, P=0.837) in the patellar reflex between the 3 taping applications. The findings suggest that the direction of KT application over the muscle has specific effects on muscle performance. Given the magnitude of effect is small, interpretation of clinical significance should be considered with caution. The underlying mechanism warrants further investigation.
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