Background: Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is one of the most common overuse knee disorders among the physically active population. Three main factors associated with PFPS are a
greater knee adduction and internal tibial rotation angles, and an increased anterior shear force. Bracing and taping techniques have been reported to reduce knee pain and overall function but their
implication in the reduction of factors associated with PFPS are controversial. The purpose of this study is to compare the biomechanical alterations related to the application of three different knee
modalities: kinesio tape (KT), neoprene sleeve (NS), functional brace (FB), and no modality on healthy knees during weight acceptance of gait to determine which intervention is most effective in the
decrease of three main factors. The study hypothesized that the FB would have the most impact on reducing the anterior shear force and the internal tibial rotation.
Methods: Twenty-five healthy volunteer participants with the average age of 30.08 years, height = 1.74m, and weight = 72.78kg completed 3 gait trials for each four randomized test
conditions: a control (no applied modality), an Ossur neoprene knee sleeve, an Ossur prophylactic functional brace, and Kinesio tape (neutral taping). Seven infrared VICON motion capture cameras and
two AMTI force were used to collect the kinematic and kinetic data. A repeated measures MANOVA (p < 0.05) analyzed the data to identify if there were significant differences between the different test
conditions and the factors tested.
Results: Overall significant differences were found between anterior shear force and internal tibial rotation angle and the different modalities. Both the KT and the FB significantly
reduced the anterior shear force during weight acceptance of gait compared to the control and the sleeve trials with the highest decrease for the KT (-3.17N). The FB significantly increased the
internal tibial rotation angle compared to the other test conditions. Although there was no overall significance within subjects for the knee adduction angle during weight acceptance of gait, there
was a significant increase in knee adduction angle between the FB and the three other modalities.
Conclusions: Comparable to Fleming et al. (2000), the FB reduced the anterior shear force but this result negated the research hypothesis where the FB would decrease it more than the
other modalities. Moreover, the results conflicted with previous research findings in which the FB significantly reduced internal tibial rotation and knee adductions angles during gait and step
descent tasks (Selfe et al., 2011). The contradictory nature of the findings compels the need for future research to determine a more concise understanding of how these modalities alter the kinematics
and kinetics that are associated with PFPS which will better equip clinicians, therapists, and athletic trainers.