of Scapular Taping on the Activity Onset of Scapular Muscles and the Scapular
Kinematics in Volleyball Players with Rotator Cuff Tendinopahy

HT, Ng GY, & Fu SN.  J Sci Med Sport. 2016; Accepted for
publication October 21, 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2016.10.013

Take Home Message: Shoulder taping is associated with early
activation of scapular muscles; however, this only resulted in a minimal effect
on shoulder kinematics. 

Repetitive overhead shoulder
activity associated with volleyball can negatively impact shoulder and scapular
motion and ultimately cause chronic shoulder pain such as rotator cuff
tendinopathy.  Prevention and management
of rotator cuff tendinopathy include rehabilitation and taping techniques.  Within the sport of volleyball, there has
been a surge in the increasing number of athletes who have utilized taping to
try to help prevent or manage chronic shoulder pain.  The authors of this study evaluated the motion
(via 3-dimensional analysis) and muscle activity (via electromyography) of 26
male volleyball players suffering with a rotator cuff tendinopathy in 3 taping
conditions: no tape, placebo tape, and tape with tension, which were performed
in random order.  The authors evaluated
the changes in 3 scapular angles (upward/downward rotation, anterior/posterior
tilt, and internal/external rotation) to determine the taping effects on the dynamic
control of the scapula during should abduction (0° to 30°, 30° to 60° and 60°
to 90°). The authors found that there was earlier activity onset of the lower
trapezius, middle trapezius, and serratus anterior muscles with either of the
tape conditions (placebo or tape with tension). 
While there was earlier muscle activity, there was only a minimal effect
on scapular upward rotation. No other significant difference between taping
conditions were found.

These findings are interesting
because it demonstrates that tape applied can enhance muscle activation of
scapular muscles.  The authors reported
that taping with placebo tape (no tension) or with tension (therapeutic)
resulted in similar earlier onset of muscle activation in comparison to no
tape.  Though, the authors could not
explain why this happens, it still could have implications for long-term use to
relieve chronic shoulder pain associated with rotator cuff tendinopathy in
volleyball athletes.  It would be
interesting to see how pain and other kinematic measures might be affected if
athletes participated in multiple volleyball practices or rehabilitation
sessions while taped.  The authors stated
that there was a small change in scapular upward rotation; however, it was not
clinically meaningful. It would be interesting to see if there is a cumulative
effect to this minimal change that might make a clinically impactful
difference.  It would also be interesting
to track patient reported outcomes in addition to muscle activity and shoulder
kinematics.  Further research is
definitely needed in this area.  However,
it appears that shoulder taping is definitely an option to encourage better
scapular stabilizing control during early movements. 

for Discussion:  Do you use any shoulder
taping techniques with overhead athletes? 
Are there any other preventative measures that you have found to be
successful with overhead athletes?

Nicole Cattano
by: Jane McDevitt


Leong, H., Ng, G., & Fu, S. (2016). Effects of scapular taping on the activity onset of scapular muscles and the scapular kinematics in volleyball players with rotator cuff tendinopathy Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2016.10.013