Effects of Rigid & K-Tape on Shoulder Rotation, Posterior Tightness, & Posture in Asymptomatic Overhead Athletes

Alterations in posture and motion patterns are thought to play a role in developing shoulder injuries in overhead athletes. Taping is widely used in the sporting population, but there are limited empirical data regarding its effectiveness. The objective of this study was to determine and compare the effects of rigid and kinesio taping on shoulder rotation motions, posterior shoulder tightness (PST) and posture in overhead athletes. This was achieved through a RCT involving 86 asymptomatic overhead athletes.

Participants were randomly divided into four groups: rigid taping group (RTG) which underwent therapeutic rigid taping, kinesio taping group (KTG) which underwent therapeutic kinesio taping, placebo group which underwent placebo kinesio taping (shoulder&scapular region taping for taping groups), and control group (no taping). Shoulder rotation motions, PST, and head and shoulder posture were evaluated at baseline, immediately after application and 60-72 hours after application for all groups.

Glenohumeral internal rotation (GIR) increased immediately (p < .001) and at 60-72 hours after application in the KTG (p = .008), whereas it decreased immediately after application in the RTG (p < .001). Immediately after application total rotation range of motion (TROM) increased in the KTG (p = .023) and decreased in the RTG (p < .001), and there was a difference between groups (p = .019). Immediately after application, PST increased in the RTG (p < .001); after 60-72 hours, it decreased in the KTG (p = .035) and increased in the RTG (p = .009). Posture outcomes did not change significantly (p >.05).

Kinesio taping may improve and rigid taping may worsen GIR and PST in overhead athletes. For increasing TROM, kinesio taping is superior to rigid taping. Taping did not affect posture. Short-term kinesio taping in overhead athletes may be useful to improve GIR, TROM, and PST.