The effect of the Mulligan knee taping technique on patellofemoral pain and lower limb biomechanics

Patellofemoral pain (PFP) affects 25% of the general population, occurring 2 times more often in females compared with males. Taping is a valuable component of the management plan for altering lower limb biomechanics and providing pain relief. However, the effects of alternative taping techniques, such as Mulligan knee taping, appear yet to be researched.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the Mulligan knee taping technique altered levels of perceived knee pain and lower limb biomechanics during a single-legged squat (SLSq) in adult females with PFP.

A total of 20 female patients with PFP, aged 18 to 35 years, participated in this study. Participants performed 3 to 5 SLSq on their most symptomatic limb during a taped (Mulligan knee taping technique) and nontaped (control) condition. During the eccentric phase of the SLSq, the 3-dimensional kinematics (250 Hz) of the knee and hip and the ground-reaction forces (1000 Hz) and muscle activation patterns (1000 Hz) of the gluteus medius, vastus lateralis, and vastus medialis oblique were measured. Participants’ perceived maximum knee pain was also recorded after the completion of each squat.

Between-condition differences were found for hip kinematics and gluteus medius activation but not for kinetics or vastus medialis oblique and vastus lateralis muscle activity (timing and activation). Compared with the nontaped condition, the Mulligan knee taping technique significantly (P = .001) reduced perceived pain during the SLSq (mean ± SD: 2.29 ± 1.79 and 1.29 ± 1.28, respectively). In the taped condition compared with the control, the onset timing of the gluteus medius occurred significantly earlier (120.6 ± 113.0 and 156.6 ± 91.6 ms, respectively; P = .023) and peak hip internal rotation was significantly reduced (6.38° ± 7.31° and 8.34° ± 7.92°, respectively; P = .002).

The Mulligan knee taping technique successfully reduced knee pain in participants with PFP. This is the first study to establish a link between Mulligan knee taping and the reduction of PFP in conjunction with decreased hip internal rotation and earlier activation of gluteus medius.