Ankle injuries, via plantarflexion (PF) and inversion, are commonplace today. To reduce ankle injuries, restrictive appliances such as taping and bracing have been employed. These appliances, however, have the disadvantage of potentially loosening considerably with mild activity. Spatting—applying tape over the shoe and sock—has been suggested as a viable alternative, yet its efficacy has not been researched widely. We examined the effects of taping or spatting the ankles on 17 men (age = 20.7 ± 2.1 years; height = 185.7 ± 5.7 cm; mass = 93.6 ± 16.2 kg) before, during, and after 60 minutes of exercise involving multi-directional activity. Active range of motion (ROM) for PF and inversion was measured via goniometry for each subject's dominant leg to establish baseline values. ROM was measured after the appliances were applied, then following a five-minute warm-up period, and after each of three, 20-minute exercise periods. The subjects also completed a 5-item, 5-point Likert-type scale survey regarding their perceptions of each ankle appliance with respect to comfort, effectiveness, and protective ability. Separate, two-way ANOVAs with repeated measures were used to assess differences in PF and inversion ROM relative to time. A series of Wilcoxon tests were used to assess the Likert-type scale survey. In comparison to spatting, taping loosened by ~5° for PF at 40 minutes and by ~3° for inversion at 20 minutes (both significant interactions, p < 0.01). Thus indicating that spatting is more restrictive than taping after 20 minutes of exercise. Interestingly, taping was perceived as more comfortable than spatting (Z = 2.03, p = 0.04); nonetheless, the perceived protection along with the perceived ability to move before, during, and after exercise was rated similarly between the appliances (p > 0.05). Despite an advantage of restricting PF and inversion during exercise with spatting, it is not known if the loss of tape-skin contact underscores the potential benefits associated with the neuromuscular reactivity that have been reported with taping. Additional research is needed to clarify this issue.
Udermann†, Brian E.; Miller†, Kevin C.; Doberstein‡, Scott T.; Reineke‡, David M.; Murray‡, Steven R.; and Pettitt‡, Robert W.
"Spatting restricts ankle motion more effectively than taping during exercise,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 2
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol2/iss2/1