Effect of kinesiologly taping on standing balance in a healthy population

Woodhouse Jennifer J., Joss Brendan K.
Literature type: 
case series
Publication year: 


A review of the literature has demonstrated controversial results for the use of ankle taping to enhance balance, proprioception and decrease risk of injury. (Alt et al. 1999) It is yet to be determined whether Kinesiology taping may facilitate or inhibit muscle function, particularly with regard to muscle recruitment and/or joint stability. (Cortesi et al. 2011) The use of taping is thought to decrease ankle stiffness and aid in postural control. The aim of this study was to examine the effect kinesiology taping had on ankle stability in a healthy population.

Ten healthy subjects aged between 22-33yrs, all without lower limb musculoskeletal pathology, were assessed. Participants were asked to perform a 15 second single leg balance, firstly with their eyes open then eyes closed on a force plate. Centre of pressure (CoP) was tracked in 4 variables: 1. Path length – the total distance the CoP moved, 2. Area 95 – The area containing the 95% of the total CoP displacement, 3: Displacement of the CoP in the anterior/posterior plane, 4. Displacement of the CoP in the Medial/Lateral Plane. Measures were taken under 3 conditions: 1) no taping, 2) with kinesiology tape applied to the skin posteriorly from the calcaneal to the proximal calf, and 3) with kinesiology tape applied across the medial and lateral aspect of the ankle joint, in addition to the posterior strip. To control for learning effect participants were randomly assigned to the three conditions.

There were no measurable differences across all conditions (with and without tape), when the eyes were open. With the eyes closed, posterior only taping reduced anterior/posterior sway by 2.52cm (p=.0206) compared to the no tape condition, and by 1.77cm (p=0.404) when combined with medial/lateral taping. Medial/lateral sway was reduced by 1.29cm (p=0.302) for posterior only taping, and by 1.42cm (p=0.321) with the addition of medial and lateral taping, when compared to no tape. These reductions in sway failed to reach statistical significance. Centre of pressure area was reduced with posterior only taping by 15.12cm2 (p=0.304), and by 11.38cm2 (p=0.458) with the addition of medial and lateral taping. The total path length covered by the participants CoP was reduced by 55.52cm (p=0.135) with posterior only taping and 68.23cm (p=0.045) with the addition of medial and lateral taping, compared to no tape.

There appears to be no benefit to single leg balance in normal subjects when balancing with eyes open. However, when the visual feedback was removed, the taped scenarios produced greater control of the centre of balance for all measures, suggesting improved postural control. While statistical significance was only reached in total path length, there was a strong trend to improvement with tape across all conditions, which may be improved with a larger sample size. Reductions in sway direction were consistent with taping procedure (ie. posterior taping improved anterior/posterior sway). These results suggest kinesiology taping may improve postural control, and further study is warranted in the population whose balance is affected by injury or disease.



Hollywood Functional Rehabilitation Clinic, Perth, WA, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA