Tactile stimulation with kinesiology tape alleviates muscle weakness attributable to attenuation of Ia afferents
Prolonged vibration stimulation to normal individuals could lead to muscle weakness attributable to attenuation of afferent feedback. This weakness is neurophysiologically similar to that seen in patients with knee injury. Theoretically, increasing input to gamma motor neurons could reverse this weakness. Sensory input to these neurons from skin could indirectly increase Ia afferent feedback. The present study examined the effect of this tactile stimulation in the form of Kinesiology tape on muscle weakness attributable to attenuation of afferent feedback.
Randomized, crossover design.
All participants were measured their eccentric maximal voluntary contractions under the 2 conditions (taping and non-taping). First, maximal voluntary contraction during eccentric contraction was measured as baseline. For the taping condition, Kinesiology tape was applied around each subject's knee joint during maximal voluntary contraction measurement after vibration. For the non-taping condition, tape was not applied during maximal voluntary contraction measurement after vibration. Mean percentage changes between pre- and post-vibration stimulation were compared between two conditions.
Maximal voluntary contraction and average electromyography of taping condition was significantly larger than that of non-taping condition.
Our results suggest that tactile stimulation in the form of Kinesiology tape inhibits the decline of both strength and electromyography. Alpha motor neuron activity attenuated by prolonged vibration would thus be partially rescued by tactile stimulation. These results indirectly suggest that stimulation of skin around the knee could counter quadriceps femoris weakness due to attenuated Ia afferent activity.