J. Peckenpaugh, B. Miller, E. Mills, W. M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

There is evidence that Kinesio Tape (KT) can facilitate pain reduction and proprioception across a range of movements. It remains unknown whether KT can affect psychological factors, such as confidence and fear avoidance, that influence return to play readiness following injury. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of KT on the readiness to play for college student-athletes. METHODS: Undergraduate student-athletes between the ages of 18-23 years old who sustained an injury in the preceding two years were identified as the target population. Forty-three eligible student-athletes consented to participate in a survey that included retrospective questions regarding the use of KT, confidence for return to play with the use of the Injury-Psychological Readiness to Return to Sport Scale (I-PRRS), and fear avoidance with the use of the Athlete Fear Avoidance Questionnaire (AFAQ). An independent groups t-test (p ≤ 0.05) was used to determine significant differences between those who did and did not use KT. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in I-PRRS scores (confidence) between those who reported KT use (39.67 ± 8.84) and those who did not (32.00 ± 13.55; F = 3.889, p = 0.055). There was no significant difference in AFAQ (fear avoidance) between those who reported KT use (28.60 ± 7.68) and those who did not (33.82 ± 8.92; F = 3.672, p = 0.0562). Small effect sizes (d = 0.082-0.087) and moderate observed beta ( = 0.52-0.54) for I-PRRS and AFAQ indicated a moderate probability that a Type II error was committed for both comparisons. CONCLUSION: Under the present research circumstances, KT use did not appear to significantly influence confidence or fear avoidance in return to play situations. The retrospective aspect of questioning, and disproportionate representation of certain sports and injuries may have introduced too much variance in I-PRRS and AFAQ scores to elucidate a clear benefit of KT use. It also is possible that the sample of participants was too small to definitively rule out a beneficial effect of KT on confidence and fear avoidance. Future research studies in this area should incorporate a larger sample of athletes from several different sports, a larger variety of injuries, and more recent survey recall to build upon these findings.

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