Patella taping reduces pain in individuals with patellofemoral pain (PFP), although the mechanism remains unclear. One possibility is that patella taping modifies vasti muscle activity via stimulation of cutaneous afferents. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of stretching the skin over the patella on vasti muscle activity in people with PFP. Electromyographic activity (EMG) of individual motor units in vastus medialis obliquus (VMO) was recorded via a needle electrode and from surface electrodes placed over VMO and vastus lateralis (VL). A tape was applied to the skin directly over the patella and stretch was applied via the tape in three directions, while subjects maintained a gentle isometric knee extension effort at constant force. Recordings were made from five separate motor units in each direction. Stretch applied to the skin over the patella increased VMO surface EMG and was greatest with lateral stretch. There was no change in VL surface EMG activity. While there was no net increase in motor unit firing rate, it was increased in the majority of motor units during lateral stretch. Application of stretch to the skin over VMO via the tape can increase VMO activity, suggesting that cutaneous stimulation may be one mechanism by which patella taping produces a clinical effect. © 2004 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
MacGregor, K., Gerlach, S., Mellor, R., & Hodges, P. W. (2005). Cutaneous stimulation from patella tape causes a differential increase in vasti muscle activity in people with patellofemoral pain. Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 23(2), 351–358. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orthres.2004.07.006