Empowerband v Taping which provides more effective ankle support?



A study was made at Teeside University to compare the mechanical effectiveness of traditional taping v Empowerband.

Epidemiological evidence indicates that the incidence of ankle sprains (especially

those involving the lateral ligament complex) is amongst the most commonly

occurring injury in athletes.

• Due to the high incidence of ankle sprains and high social and economic costs,

preventing ankle sprain recurrence is of significant importance.

• Evidence supports the use of tape to reduce ankle instability, and might provide

similar benefits to orthotics, and current braces on the market.

• However, evidence to support these mechanisms are inconsistent in the literature.

Furthermore, the structural integrity of tape reduces after the onset of application due

to the stiffness of the material.

• Tape begins to lose its effects on maintaining ankle stability after ~ 20 min.

Therefore, the protective effect of tape does not last an entire game of football.

• Empowerband has been designed to provide stability to the ankle in much the same

way as tape. However, due to the elastic properties of the material, it is designed to

be more durable than tape.

• Currently, there is only anecdotal evidence to suggest that the Empowerband might

provide greater stability to the ankle




Measuring material properties (Young’s modulus) of tape and Empowerband

• There were three different samples assessed including; 1) a typical elastic adhesive

sports tape, 2) a thin rubber band (Empowerband 1), and 3) a thick rubber band

(Empowerband 2)

• One specimen of each of these were tested on the Instron Universal Testing

apparatus using a typical tensile testing method (Figure 3).

• Each specimen was put through four loading/unloading cycles to a maximum load of

50 Newtons and its performance assessed with regard to Modulus of Elasticity or

Stiffness.

The results show that the tape was by far the stiffest of the three samples having a

maximum extension of around 5.5 mm (around 2.4 % of its initial length) and a

Modulus of around 275 MPa. After each of the loading/unloading cycles the tape

becomes more and more elastic resulting in longer extension and lower modulus

• Empowerband will return to its original length after multiple loading cycles. However,

tape will continue to stretch reducing the stability of the ankle joint.


Summary

• Empowerband may offer some more postural stability in the anterior posterior

direction

• The product has been proven to have greater elastic properties than traditional

physiotherapy tape.

• Following cyclic stretching, Empowerband has been shown to return to its original

length thus will maintain its structural stability over prolonged stress beyond that of

tape.

• Empowerband does not reduce the total range of motion during an up and down

motion but tape does.




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Patent Pending UK No. 1810158.4

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