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The Effect of Ankle Taping on the Ground Reaction Force in Vertical Jump Performance

Koyama, Keiji1; Kato, Tomoo1; Yamauchi, Junichiro2,3,4

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: May 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 5 - p 1411–1417
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000260
Original Research
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Koyama, K, Kato, T, and Yamauchi, J. The effect of ankle taping on the ground reaction force in vertical jump performance. J Strength Cond Res 28(5): 1411–1417, 2014—The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of closed basket weave (CBW) ankle taping on the vertical ground reaction force during the contact phase before the take-off in vertical jump performance. We hypothesized that ankle taping would limit the capability for explosive force generation during the contact phase before the take-off in jump performance. Twelve healthy young men (age, 20.2 ± 1.3 years; height, 1.76 ± 0.05 m; body mass, 66.1 ± 6.1 kg; mean ± SD) performed a vertical jump performance on a force plate without (CON) or with ankle taping (CBW technique) of the right ankle joint. Vertical jump ability was assessed using 2 styles of vertical jump with no arm swing: a countermovement jump (CMJ) and squat jump (SJ). From the vertical ground reaction force (GRF), maximum jump height, vertical impulse (VI), rate of force development, maximum GRF (GRFmax), and time-series GRF (GRFts) during the contact phase before the take-off in jump performance were determined. Jump height was significantly lower for CBW (36.6 ± 6.6 cm) than CON (38.1 ± 6.7 cm) in CMJ, but not in SJ. Rate of force development and GRFts at 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and 65% of total time of the contact phase in jumping performance were also significantly smaller for CBW than CON in CMJ, but not in SJ. Conversely, VI and GRFmax were not significantly different between the groups in either jump condition. These results suggest that ankle taping impairs CMJ performance, because of a decreased ability to develop large force rapidly on the ground before the take-off.

1Toin University of Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan;

2Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo, Japan;

3Future Institute for Sport Sciences, Tokyo, Japan; and

4Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

Address correspondence to Junichiro Yamauchi, yamauchi@tmu.ac.jp.

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Introduction

Ankle joint injuries are common in a wide variety of sports (24). One of the most common ankle injuries is the ankle sprain, often caused by an inversion of the foot so that the muscles, tendons, and ligaments on the outside of the ankle are injured. In fact, it has been reported that ankle sprain occurs in more than 80% of the ankle injuries in indoor sports (8). Ankle sprains often cause long-term disability in athletic performance and chronic pain (27). Accordingly, ankle taping is often used to increase the stability of joint movement (12) when athletes return to play after ankle injuries. The prescription of ankle taping is intended to restrict free joint movement and protect the connective tissues from reinjury, although such limitation of ankle movement may also affect athletic performance, by restricting plantar flexion movement and force generation of the triceps surae muscles (21,22). It has been reported that during jump performance, the contribution of force at the ankle joint is 20–35% of the total body work (28).

Force components in vertical jump performance are evaluated using several parameters. The development of maximal force in minimal time or the rate of force development (RFD), vertical impulse (VI), and maximum force on the ground are known to be important variables in enhancing the acceleration phase in sprint and jump performances (19,30,32). Ankle taping may limit rapid joint rotation, so as to impair force-generating capacity during vertical jump performance. There are reports that ankle taping can decrease sports tasks (27) and jump performance (6), although it has also been shown that ankle taping can effectively reduce large impact forces, peak forces, and time to reach peak force during the landing phase of jump performance (15,23).

From a practical point of view, athletes also need to know how ankle taping affects athletic performance, not only to prevent reinjuries, but also not to use taping to avoid reduced athletic performance in competition. However, whether the ankle taping impairs dynamic movement or jump performance is unclear. There are no reports as to how ankle taping affects the muscles that generate force during the contact phase before the take-off in jump performance. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of closed basket weave (CBW) ankle taping on ground reaction force (GRF) before the take-off in vertical jump performance. We hypothesized that ankle taping would limit the capability for explosive force generation during the contact phase before the take-off in jump performance.

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Methods

Experimental Approach to the Problem

This study was designed to investigate the effects of ankle taping on the GRF before the take-off in vertical jump performance. To address this, CBW ankle taping was used to stabilize the ankle joint, and the force variables were measured from the GRF during vertical jump performance. Subjects attended the sport science laboratory to participate in vertical jump performance tests. After warm-up, subjects performed 5 countermovement jumps (CMJ) and squat jumps (SJ) in random order on a force plate without (CON) or with ankle taping (CBW technique) of the right ankle joint in random order on the same day. The tests were carried out at the same time of the day. Force–time variables were measured from the force plate during CMJ and SJ and analyzed with regard to jump height (Ht), VI, maximum vertical ground reaction force (GRFmax), and RFD. These variables were compared between CON and CBW in each jump performance.

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Subjects

Twelve healthy young men (age, 20.2 ± 1.3 (18–22) years; height, 1.76 ± 0.05 m; body mass, 66.1 ± 6.1 kg; mean ± SD) volunteered to participate in this study. No subjects were taking medication nor did they have any injuries in their feet or legs within 1 year. Before the vertical jump tests without or with ankle taping, subjects warmed-up with self-paced walking and stretched the quadriceps, the hamstrings, and the triceps surae muscles for 15 minutes.

The subjects signed written informed consent after the experiment procedures, study design, and possible risks had been explained. This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Toin University of Yokohama and was conducted according to the Declaration of Helsinki.

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Ankle Taping

Adhesive taping is traditionally used to prevent ankle sprains (10). The most prevalent taping method used today is the CBW, in conjunction with the heel lock and the figure eight (17,20). In this study, ankle taping with the CBW technique was used on the right ankle joint applied by a certified athletic trainer. This technique consisted of 2 heel locks and 1 figure eight (1). In the taping procedure, a single layer of underwrap (Nitreat 70 mm UW-70; Nitto Medical Corporation, Osaka, Japan) was used for covering the skin surface, and a standard athletic tape (38.0 mm × 13.7 m, Nitreat CB-V, Nitto Medical Corporation) was used for overlapping around the ankle joint (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1

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Measurement of Vertical Jump Performance

Vertical jump ability was assessed using 2 styles of vertical jump without arm swing: the CMJ and the SJ. The details of methodology for the vertical jump measurements have been described elsewhere (32). Countermovement jump was performed by rapidly moving downward followed immediately by explosive upward movement. On the other hand, the SJ was performed from an initial static position at 90 degrees of knee flexion as measured with a goniometer. In CMJ and SJ, subjects placed their arms akimbo throughout the entire jump and kept their torso in an upright position to emphasize use of the leg extensor muscles (5).

After all subjects performed 2 submaximal jumps for both CMJ and SJ, they attempted CMJ or SJ as high as possible and performed 5 trials of each type of vertical jump in both CBW and CON conditions with a 3-minute recovery period between attempts. The mean of the 3 measurements after exclusion of the largest and smallest values was used for further analysis.

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Statistical Analyses

The variables of vertical jump performance were assessed in terms of the vertical force signal of GRF components obtained from the force plate (Kistler, Winterthur, Switzerland). The output from the force plate was introduced to the computer through an analog-to-digital converter (PH-770; DKH, Tokyo, Japan) at a sampling frequency of 1 kHz. The details of the analysis for vertical force components during vertical jump have been described elsewhere (13). By measuring the flight time (

) from the force record on the force plate, the vertical take-off velocity (

) of the center of gravity was calculated with the following equation:

where

is the acceleration of gravity (9.81 m·s−2). Then,

was calculated with the following equation:

The

was calculated with the following equation (18):

where m, a, and

are mass (kg), acceleration (m·s−2), and the change in time (seconds), respectively.

was deemed as the point at the minimum GRF (GRFmini) in the contact phase to the point of the take-off (Figure 2). Minimum GRF was defined at the point when the vertical GRF was the lowest during the contact phase (29).

Figure 2

Figure 2

Rate of force development was calculated with the following equation:

where

was the change in time (seconds) as the point from the GRFmini to the GRFmax (Figure 2). Time-series GRF (GRFts) was defined as the relative range between GRFmini (0% GRFts) and before the take-off (100% GRFts) (29). Maximum vertical ground reaction force, VI, and RFD were normalized by body mass.

Performance of the stretch-shortening cycle was evaluated from the Hts of CMJ and SJ as prestretch augmentation (

, %) with the following equation (31):

All data were presented as mean ± SD. The differences in Ht, GRFmax, VI, and RFD between CBW and CON were tested using a paired t-test. The effects of ankle taping on GRFts were analyzed using a 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance. When an interaction was identified, Bonferroni-corrected pairwise post hoc comparisons were performed. Regression analysis was used for relationships between relevant parameters of GRF and Ht. The level of statistical significance was set at p ≤ 0.05.

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Results

Table 1 summarizes all outcomes of both types of jump performance in the CBW and CON conditions. Jump height and RFD in CBW were significantly lower (4.0 ± 3.7%) and slower (13.0 ± 10.0%) than those in CON for CMJ, respectively, but not for SJ (Figure 3). Maximum vertical ground reaction force and VI were not significantly different between CBW and CON for both jump types. Prestretch augmentation tended to be lower in CBW (19.4 ± 13.1%) than in CON (22.3 ± 10.5%), but it was not significant.

Table 1

Table 1

Figure 3

Figure 3

As shown in Figure 4, GRFts in CMJ was significantly smaller at 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and 65% of total time of the contact phase for CBW (13.3 ± 2.9, 14.8 ± 3.8, 16.3 ± 4.6, 17.7 ± 5.3, 18.9 ± 5.6, 19.7 ± 5.3, and 19.9 ± 4.3 N·kg−1) compared with those for CON (13.9 ± 3.2, 15.7 ± 4.2, 17.5 ± 5.1, 19.1 ± 5.7, 20.4 ± 5.5, 21.0 ± 4.8, and 20.8 ± 4.2 N·kg−1), and the decreased GRFts in CMJ for CBW represented 3.8, 5.8, 6.8, 7.5, 7.2, 6.3, and 4.2% of CON. However, GRFts in SJ was not significantly different between CBW and CON at any time of the contact phase.

Figure 4

Figure 4

Additionally, the Ht significantly correlated with GRFmax (n = 12, r = 0.65, p < 0.01) and RFD (r = 0.61, p < 0.01) in CMJ, whereas it significantly correlated with GRFmax (r = 0.47, p ≤ 0.05) and VI (r = 0.41, p ≤ 0.05) in SJ.

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Discussion

This study was the first reported study to show that ankle taping with the CBW technique impaired vertical jump performance with a reduction in developing force explosively during the contact phase before the take-off in vertical jump performance. The impact of this study was that RFD and GRFts of 35–65% of the total time (before GRFmax) of the contact phase in CMJ performance were decreased by ankle taping, whereas GRFmax and VI were not significantly changed by ankle taping.

This study shows that one of the major causes of the decrease in the height of CMJs when using ankle taping is likely the decreased velocity of large force development during the contact phase before the take-off. It is known that RFD is one of the important variables in explaining performance in activities where great acceleration is required (19,30). Sacco Ide et al. (25) also shows that RFD in the vertical direction during the cutting movement is impaired by ankle taping. This is also supported by the marked correlation between vertical Ht and RFD in this study and others (16,32). These results suggest that ankle taping impairs vertical jump perfomance, possibly because of a reduction in the ability to develop large force rapidly at the contact phase before the take-off in CMJ performance.

Ankle taping may affect force-generating capacity in other joints. Multi-segment coordination is another important determinant of vertical jump performance to generate large forces rapidly on the ground (7). Maximum force generation on the ground in vertical jump performance is the net moment of muscles produced mainly by the hip and knee extensors and ankle plantar flexors. However, with no kinematic assessment of the lower extremities in this study, it is difficult to determine whether decreases in the performance in CMJ in the CBW condition were because of segmental discoordination or decrease in force production at the ankle alone. It is also difficult to assume that the same mechanical position of the lower limb is measured at a given time point of the contact phase in both CBW and CON conditions. Further study is required to understand the influence of ankle taping on multi-segment coordination during dynamic movement using motion analysis.

Another important factor for CMJ is the utilization of the elastic energy in tendinous tissues through a countermovement of lower limbs as compared with SJ (1,3,4). The elastic energy of tendinous tissues is produced when the stretching and shortening of muscle and tendinous tissues is performed quickly within a range of motion at the joint. Kurokawa et al. (14) has reported that the interaction between fascicles and tendinous structures had an essential role in the generation of higher joint power during the contact phase before the take-off in the vertical jump. In this study, PSA was attenuated, by about 3%, using ankle taping, although it was not significant. The elastic energy during CMJ may be impaired by the ankle taping, to some extent, but the effect is apparently not large.

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Practical Applications

For a practical point of view, to maximize jumping-like movements in athletes, ankle taping should be used carefully so as not to impair the mechanical power output of leg movement, especially for the countermovement action of the leg. Approximately 18–40% of all sports injuries are ankle joint–related injury (11,26). In particular, contact sports, indoor activities, and sports with a high jump rate lead to high ankle injury rates (2). Garrick and Requa (9) show a low incidence of ankle sprains in basketball players using ankle taping compared with not using ankle taping. This is because the maximum medial-lateral force of GRF in basketball cutting maneuvers is supported by the ankle taping condition (7,25). For this reason, ankle taping is consistently used in both training and competition settings to prevent ankle injuries, although it reduces the ability to produce force rapidly during dynamic movements. There may also be a reduced effect of ankle taping after a long period of taping use.

In conclusion, ankle taping can decrease jump performance with countermovement action. Our results suggest that ankle taping is likely to reduce quick force development during the contact phase before the take-off in a vertical CMJ. Athletes, athletic trainers, and coaches should understand the side effects of ankle taping and be careful to use it for athletes at the right time and in appropriate situations.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank all the participants in the study. The authors also appreciate Mr. Honda and Mr. Yanase for their assistance. This study was partly supported by a grant from Toin University of Yokohama to K. Koyama and T. Kato, and by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology—Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (A) for J. Yamauchi and Grant-in-Aid for Exploratory Research to J. Yamauchi.

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Keywords:

rate of development force; closed basket weave; countermovement jump; limitation of ankle motion

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