An investigation into the immediate effect of patellar taping on knee control in patients with adult acquired hemiplegia due to stroke

Dreyer, Sonette (2009-03)

Thesis (MScPhysio (Physiotherapy))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


The ability to walk has been rated by stroke patients as one of the most important goals of their rehabilitation. Knee control is a key element in normal gait. Currently, treatment options aimed at improving poor knee control in stroke patients are often costly, need specialised equipment and have poor patient compliance. The purpose of the current study was to assess whether medial patellar taping could improve knee control in stroke patients. Gait speed, dynamic standing balance, knee alignment and whether the subjects experienced any subjective stabilising effect on the knee after taping were tested. Twenty subjects diagnosed with hemiplegia after a stroke served as their own controls in a repeated measures experimental study. Results indicated that dynamic standing balance as tested by the Step Test (p=0.063) and the Timed-up-and-go test (p=0.099) (Wilcoxon test) showed marginal improvement after taping. This improvement in dynamic standing balance may indicate that neuro-motor control and/or eccentric knee control had improved. There was no change in walking speed and knee alignment as tested by change in the Q-angle (Wilcoxon test). However, a decrease in the Q-angle correlated with an improvement in dynamic standing balance as tested by the Step Test (p=0.029) (Spearman‟s test). Participants with decreased Q-angles after taping possibly had better knee alignment and were more willing to accept weight on their affected leg indicating a change in quadriceps activation. No change in walking speed (p=0.351) (Wilcoxon test) before and after taping may indicate that there was no change in the magnitude of contraction and/or concentric activity in the quadriceps muscle. Thirty percent of the participants reported a subjective change in knee stability after taping. Subjective change did not, however, significantly correlate with either of the balance tests, walking speed or Q-angle measurements. The possibility that medial patellar taping may be useful in treating poor knee control in stroke patients during dynamic balance activities should be investigated further.

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