February 2012

Brain changes on fMRI with patellar taping suggest proprioceptive effect

In the moment: Sports medicine

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) findings from the University of Manchester in the UK appear to confirm that patellar taping has a proprioceptive effect.

Researchers assessed the blood oxygenation level–dependent (BOLD) response during fMRI in eight healthy male volunteers performing two tasks, with and without patellar taping. Positive BOLD response is typically associated with an increase in neuronal activity, although it cannot distinguish between feed-forward and feedback activity.

Compared to a simple task without tape, a proprioceptive task without tape was associated with positive BOLD responses in five areas of the brain: the medial supplementary motor area, the cingulated motor area, the basal ganglion, the thalamus, and the medial primary sensory cortex. When tape was applied, those BOLD responses decreased, and in the lateral primary sensory cortex there was a negative response.

The findings, e-published on January 26 by Physical Therapy, suggest that less neuronal activity is required to perform proprioceptive tasks with patellar tape than with no tape, which could have implications for treatment of patellofemoral pain.


Callaghan MJ, McKie S, Richardson P, Oldham JA. Effects of patellar taping on brain activity during knee joint proprioception tests using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Phys Ther 2012 Jan 26. [Epub ahead of print.]

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