McConnell taping was initially developed by Jenny McConnell, an Australian Physiotherapist, to guide the gliding pattern of the patella (kneecap) in people who experience pain at the front of the knee. The taping technique uses rigid tape over a joint in an attempt to normalise the joint’s movement.
Anterior (at the front) Knee Pain
Knee pain is a very common complaint amongst the general population, and is certainly one of the most common problems that our Physiotherapists treat in our Sydney CBD clinics. The patellofemoral joint (between the kneecap and thigh bone) is the cause of a large proportion of these cases. Patellofemoral pain means pain under or around the kneecap. It can be caused by incorrect patellar tracking.
In a normal knee, the kneecap sits in the groove of the femur (thigh bone) [see picture to the right]. As you bend and straighten your knee, the kneecap can glide up and down in this groove by about three centimetres. When this tracking pattern changes and the kneecap does not glide in the correct way in the groove, pain can arise. Patellofemoral pain is a very common problem amongst sports players where the knee is often held in a sustained bent position.
The kneecap is held in the thigh bone groove with help from the surrounding ligaments and muscles. The position of your foot, thigh and pelvis are all important in determining the position of these ligaments and muscles, and hence the position of the kneecap itself and how it tracks. If there is a change in the relative position of these structures (e.g. tightening of muscles), pain under the kneecap may arise.
How taping works
McConnell taping is a technique that can decrease the pain in the knee by altering the tracking pattern of the patella in the groove. This enables the wearer to work the muscles more efficiently and therefore improve the tracking of the knee. As the strengthening programme progresses, the degree of irritation in the knee decreases and the length of time the knee is taped can be decreased.