Marked by a collapse in the medial arch, flat foot increases the tone and stiffness in the lower extremity (LE) muscles, leading to cramps and fatigue in the feet due to overuse.
Kinematic taping is one of the physical therapy interventions used in treating the condition which includes the use of elastic tapes that are stretched 33% before being attached, to reduce pronation and abnormally increased activity in the LE muscles.
Wang et al. aimed to examine the effect of this method on the tone and stiffness in the muscles of both LEs in subjects with flexible flat feet.
15 subjects were assigned to the kinematic taping group (KT group) along with 15 other subjects who were assigned to the sham taping group (ST group).
The Myoton® PRO device was used to measure muscle tone and stiffness, particularly the rectus femoris (RF), tibialis anterior (TA), medial gastrocnemius (MG), and the long head of the biceps femoris (BF).
The taping process involved 5-cm wide elastic tapes being applied to the posterior shin muscle and the transverse arch of both legs. For the ST group, the tape was attached from the medial malleolus of the tibia to the lateral epicondyle of the femur minus any ankle joint movement or tape stretch.
In the KT group, taping was found to have decreased foot pressure in the dominant leg considerably (p < 0.05). The tone and stiffness was observed to have decreased in all the muscles which were measured, except for the muscle tone and stiffness in the non-dominant leg.
In the ST group, on the other hand, muscle tone and stiffness was reported to have generally increased.
Hence, the study concluded that KT was effective for reducing abnormally increased tone and stiffness in the LE muscles.
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