taping does not influence ankle dorsiflexion range of motion or balance
measures in individuals with chronic ankle instability

Wheeler T, Basnett C,
Hanish M, Miriovsky D, Danielson E, Barr J, Threlkeld J, Grindstaff T. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2013;
16: 488-492.

Home Message: Among patients suffering from chronic ankle instability, fibular
taping increased ankle dorsiflexion range of motion and balance, but not enough
to be clinically meaningful.

Chronic ankle
instability (CAI) is defined as recurrent ankle sprains and repetitive episodes
of the ankle “giving way”.  Some patients
with CAI have restricted ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM) along with
hypomobility of the posterior aspect of the talocrural joint and distal
tibiofibular joint, which can cause mal-alignment of the talus and fibula. Fibular
taping, which may prevent recurrent ankle sprains, is believed to simulate a distal tibiofibular posterior glide joint mobilization that is often used
to promote ankle dorsiflexion ROM. If we can verify that fibular taping
promotes ankle dorsiflexion ROM or balance then it may help us identify other
uses for fibular taping and better educate our patients about why it works.  Therefore, “the purpose of the study was to
examine the immediate effects of fibular taping on ankle dorsiflexion ROM and
dynamic balance in individuals with CAI”. Twenty three individuals with CAI and
a dorsiflexion deficit randomly received a fibular taping
or sham taping (tape applied without tension) on different days, which were
separated by 1 to 7 days. An investigator who was blinded to the type of taping
evaluated dorsiflexion during a weight-bearing lunge and balance with the Star Excursion Balance Test in the anterior, posteromedial, and
posterolateral directions. The participants completed these tasks before and
after each taping intervention. Compared with not being taped, both taping
interventions resulted in greater ankle dorsiflexion ROM; however, the average
improvement was only one degree. The two taping interventions had a similar
influence on dorsiflexion ROM as well as dynamic balance when participants
reached in an anterior or posteromedial direction. The only time participants
performed better with the fibular taping compared with the sham taping was when
they reached in the posterolateral direction during the balance test; however, the
difference was small and within the possible range of measurement error. 

This authors showed that
fibular taping has very little influence dorsiflexion ROM and balance among
patients who have CAI.  Fibular taping
may not be beneficial for ROM and dynamic balance but it has been beneficial in
other ways.  Other studies have shown
that fibular taping may prevent ankle sprains, increase stability awareness,
and make the patient feel more confident about their ankle.  Since fibular taping provides positive
effects for the patient, it should still be used as a treatment option for
patients who have CAI.  While the authors
hoped to shed light on why this taping is beneficial they found that the
benefit may not be related to improved dorsiflexion or balance. However, it
would be helpful if future research would conduct these tests and then examine if
individuals with or without improvement in dorsiflexion and balance actually
have a reduced risk of ankle sprains. This could help us clarify that the
benefit of fibular taping is not related to improved dorsiflexion or balance or
if we can use the response to the taping to determine who might get benefit
from the taping. From a clinical point-of-view, fibular taping provides
benefits in so we should still use it to help prevent ankle sprains but we
should be cautious and not attribute these benefits to changes in balance or

for Discussion: How do you treat a patient with CAI? Have you used fibular
taping with a patient with CAI? Do you believe fibular taping has a
psychological effect on the patient to makes them feel more stable in their
ankle? Do you think fibular taping should be used as a treatment option for
patients suffering from CAI?

Written by: Callie
Reviewed by: Lisa Chinn
and Jeffrey Driban

Related Posts:

Hip Kinematics in Patients with Chronic Ankle Instability

Wheeler TJ, Basnett CR, Hanish MJ, Miriovsky DJ, Danielson EL, Barr JB, Threlkeld AJ, & Grindstaff TL (2013). Fibular taping does not influence ankle dorsiflexion range of motion or balance measures in individuals with chronic ankle instability. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 16 (6), 488-92 PMID: 23537695