Date of Award

Summer 8-12-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Health Sciences


Health and Medical Sciences


Doreen M. Stiskal PT, PhD

Committee Member

Lee Cabell EdD

Committee Member

Sherry Backus PT, DPT

Committee Member

Howard Hillstrom Ph.D


Anterior Shoulder Instability, Electromyography, McConnell Taping, Isokinetics, EMG


Introduction: Anterior shoulder instability (ASI), a common clinical problem, causes significant functional impairments. Despite little evidence to support its use, rehabilitation directed at the unstable glenohumeral joint often includes McConnell shoulder taping. This taping technique consists of a base layer of tape followed by application of a rigid strapping tape (corrective) to restrain excessive translation of the humeral head. The aims of this study were to determine the effects of McConnell shoulder taping on EMG amplitude of ten shoulder muscles and on shoulder joint peak torque between three conditions: no tape and base tape alone; no tape and McConnell tape (base plus corrective) and between base tape alone and McConnell tape during isokinetic scaption and external rotation at two abduction positions in subjects with ASI.

Methods: Eleven subjects with ASI completed concentric isokinetic testing in three functional exercise movement patterns while wearing a combination of fine wire and surface electrodes. Peak EMG amplitude for three phases of each movement pattern and peak isokinetic shoulder joint torque were evaluated. The absolute values of the change scores between the three tape conditions were analyzed using t tests (p<.0166).

Results: Changes in EMG activity between each of the taping conditions increased in some subjects and decreased in others. On the whole, significant differences in EMG amplitude occurred after application of full McConnell taping as well as after application of base tape alone for the rotator cuff and deltoid muscles in all three movement patterns. The remaining six muscles demonstrated significant changes in EMG amplitude over selective arcs of motion in some movement patterns, although findings were less consistent. No significant differences in shoulder joint peak torque for any of the taping conditions arose.

Discussion: McConnell taping effects a change in EMG activity for most shoulder muscles but not on peak torque in subjects with ASI. Similarly, the base tape alone can also cause a change in EMG activity. This suggests a possible sensory effect from tape on the skin.

Conclusion: This study supports the use of McConnell shoulder taping as a means for influencing neuromuscular activity during a shoulder rehabilitation program for persons with ASI.