A Composite Athletic Tape With Hyperelastic Material Properties Improves and Maintains Ankle Support During Exercise

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Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Controlled laboratory testing using a single-group, prospective, repeated-measures design.

OBJECTIVES:

To compare the material properties of a hyperelastic athletic tape to a conventional tape and to compare the passive ankle support of these tapes before and after exercise.

BACKGROUND:

The near-linear material properties of conventional athletic tape may interfere with ankle motion, resulting in reduced athletic performance. Conventional athletic tape is also known to lose much of its initial support during exercise. It was assumed that a tape constructed of Kevlar fibers embedded in a silicon matrix would possess hyperelastic material properties that would improve ankle support.

METHODS:

A tensile testing machine was used to determine the tensile material properties of 11 samples of conventional and hyperelastic tape. The ankles of 11 young, healthy athletes were taped, one ankle with conventional tape and the other ankle with hyperelastic tape. The passive ankle support of each tape was measured with an instrumented linkage (the ankle flexibility tester) before and after 30 minutes of exercise.

RESULTS:

The composite tape had a significantly higher load to failure than the conventional tape. It had significantly lower initial stiffness and higher late stiffness than conventional tape, thus demonstrating highly hyperelastic behavior. The hyperelastic tape maintained a significantly higher portion of its support during the 30 minutes of exercise than the conventional tape.

CONCLUSIONS:

Composite athletic tape with highly hyperelastic properties can be constructed and maintains a larger portion of its support during short-duration exercises (less than 30 minutes) than conventional athletic tape.

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