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Taping is described in the literature in the treatment and prevention of several musculoskeletal conditions such as ankle sprains (Thacker et al, 1999), patellofemoral pain (Gigante et al, 2001), wrist sprains (Rettig et al, 1997) and shoulder injuries (Kneeshaw, 2002). Research methods include randomised controlled trials, retrospective and prospective cohort studies, biomechanical lab base studies, correlational epidemiological studies. The scientific evidence for the effectiveness of taping for these problems is mixed, but the clinical use of taping techniques is widespread (Macdonald, 1994).

Miller and Hergenroeder (1990) examined the effectiveness of tape versus laced ankle stabilisers and found that support provided was equal. Each method had practical advantages and disadvantages, namely that the stabiliser could be applied by the athlete and re-tightened during competition; whereas the tape could be modified to the athletes preference and was better in sports which used low cut footwear such as a soccer boot. Hopper et al (1999) undertook a similar study, examining the difference in muscle activity and joint forces during landing when wearing an ankle brace or ankle tape. The study involved 15 elite female netball players whose landing technique was analysed using video, force plate (to measure ground reaction force) and EMG electrodes (to measure muscle activity). The authors concluded that the mechanics of landing were the same for both methods, but that the ankle brace altered muscular activity, though this was deemed not to affect function.

The ankle is the most commonly taped joint in soccer (Junge et al, 2002). There are several studies which examine the effectiveness of taping as a preventative measure. Garrick and Requa (1973) undertook a randomised controlled trial of the effects of taping on the incidence of ankle sprain in college basketball players. Those subjects who were taped every day suffered 14.7 sprains per 1000 participant games, compared with 32.8 sprains per 1000 participant games. A retrospective study by Rovere et al (1988) showed the injury incidence in students with taped ankles was 4.9 ankle sprains per 1000 participant games, compared with 2.6 ankle sprains per 1000 participant games in students wearing ankle braces. However this was another basketball study and the findings are not truly relevant to soccer as ankle braces are generally not conducive to soccer play.

Part 2

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