Baseball players are at an increased risk for shoulder dysfunction due to repetitive overhead throwing. Patients with symptomatic shoulders present with altered scapular kinematics, with the greatest variations found in upward rotation and posterior tilt which modify subacromial space. Previous investigations of the effects of kinesiotape (KT) on scapular kinematics have been inconclusive.
To determine the effects of KT on scapular kinematics in symptomatic collegiate baseball players.
Six Division II and III baseball players between 21 and 25 years old (mean 22.7) with a symptomatic throwing shoulder. Four were right hand dominant.
- Symptomatic was defined as a report or pain or dysfunction in their throwing shoulder
- Participants were screened by student physical therapists (SPTs) to determine if they fit the inclusion criteria
- Kinesiotape was applied via a mechanical correction stabilization technique by a certified KT practitioner (Figure 1)
- Scapular posterior tilting (PT) and upward rotation (UR) were collected by a designated SPT during three planes of shoulder humerothoracic (HT) elevation with the G4 electromagnetic motion capture system (Innsport , Chicago, IL)
- Scapular kinematics with and without KT were analyzed between 30-90 degree elevation
- Differences in PT and UR during the three planes of elevation were explored descriptively
- Differences between conditions were compared proportionally to the maximum range of motion available
- PT was consistently greater in the KT condition. The largest difference was in abduction, where PT was 2.92 degrees greater.
- UR was consistently less in the KT condition. The largest difference was in abduction, where UR was 3.22 degrees less.
- The difference in PT was a larger proportion of available motion in abduction and was an equal proportion of available motion in elevation in the scapular plane as compared to UR. The PT proportion in abduction was 16 percent. The UR proportion in scapular plane elevation was 13 percent.
Increased posterior tilting widens the subacromial space, which is thought to decrease risk of subacromial impingement in overhead athletes. 3 Kinesiotape increased posterior tilting in symptomatic subjects during elevation in all 3 elevation planes. This advantage is somewhat countered by the decrease in upward rotation. Future work with an increased sample size may determine if there are statistical or clinically significant differences. Matched pair t tests with a Bonferonni correction would be an appropriate analysis.
These results indicate that KT may be an effective non invasive intervention to improve scapular kinematics and/or decrease injury risk in individuals with symptomatic shoulders.
Rundquist, Peter J. PT, PhD; Bouche, Matt SPT; Higgins, Matt SPT; IntVeld, Max SPT; Schmidt, Kyla SPT; and Wacker, Carli SPT, "The Effects of Kinesiotape on Scapular Kinematics in Symptomatic Baseball Players" (2020). DPT Capstone Posters. 6.