Effect of taping on the shoulders of Australian football players

This study tested the hypothesis: Taping of the shoulder reduces glenohumeral joint laxity and improves proprioception without impairing function. 33 male players aged 18–31 years were recruited from a local Australian football club. The dominant shoulder of each player was tested with and without taping in a randomised fashion by an examiner blinded to the presence or absence of taping. The tests were (1) inferior glenohumeral joint laxity (the Orthopaedic Research Institute laxometer), (2) shoulder joint position sense accuracy using an optical tracking system, and (3) handballing accuracy.  The methods for testing laxity and joint position sense had good intraobserver reliability and sensitivity. All subjects tolerated the taping and testing. Glenohumeral joint laxity (p = 0.75), joint position sense (p = 0.56) and handballing accuracy (p = 0.6) were not changed by taping.

Taping of the shoulder joint in uninjured and non-symptomatic Australian football players in a pattern that attempted not to restrict their range of overhead movement did not significantly affect the accuracy of joint position sense, inferior laxity or handball accuracy.   These data suggest that taping of the shoulder is unlikely to decrease the incidence of injury—specifically dislocation—of the shoulder in Australian football players.

Bradley, T, Baldwick, C, Fischer, D, Murrell, G A C. Effect of taping on the shoulders of Australian football players. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2009;43:735-738