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J Athl Train. 1997 Apr-Jun; 32(2): 136–140.
PMCID: PMC1319816

A Comparison of Moleskin Tape, Linen Tape, and Lace-Up Brace on Joint Restriction and Movement Performance

Richard C. Metcalfe, MSEd
Richard C. Metcalfe is
Gretchen A. Schlabach, PhD, ATC
Gretchen A. Schlabach is Program Director of Sports Medicine/Athletic Training at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115.
Marilyn A. Looney, PED
Marilyn A. Looney is Associate Professor at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115.



There are several types of ankle prophylactics available. The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of moleskin tape, linen tape, and a lace-up brace on motor performance and ankle/subtalar range of motion (ROM).

Design and Setting:

Performance was measured in centimeters and seconds for vertical jump and Southeast Missouri (SEMO) agility test, respectively, under four conditions: control/no support, tape (T), tape with moleskin stirrup reinforcement (TwMSR), and a lace-up brace (B). Motor tests were conducted on two separate days. On another day ankle/ subtalar ROM was measured before, during, and after 20 minutes of continuous exercise under the four conditions. All tests were conducted in the field house at Northem Illinois University.


Ten college females with no recent history of ankle injury volunteered to participate in the study.


Vertical jump was measured using a Vertec jump stand (centimeters), and the Southeast Missouri (SEMO) agility test was measured with a stopwatch (seconds) under the four conditions. Ankle/subtalar ROM was measured before, during, and after a 20-minute exercise protocol by a goniometer under the four conditions. The tape (T) application was a closed basketweave, the tape with moleskin stirrup reinforcement (TwMSR) consisted of a closed basketweave and a moleskin stirrup (7.62 cm, 3 inches), and the brace(B) was a Swede-O Universal (Swede-O, Inc, North Branch, MN).


Vertical jumps were significantly shorter for all three ankle prophylactics when compared with the control/no-support condition. Among the three prophylactics, the vertical jumps were the same. Slower performance times were recorded for all three prophylactics as compared with the control/no-support condition. There were no significant differences, however, among the three ankle prophylactics. In comparison with the control/no-support condition, the TwMSR application significantly restricted four of the four ROMs (plantar flexion, dorsiflexion, inversion, and eversion) during the 20-minute exercise protocol. The T application significantly restricted three of the four ROMS (all ROMs except plantar flexion), and the B application also significantly restricted three of the four ROMs (all ROMs except eversion) during the 20-minute exercise protocol in comparison with the control/no- support condition.


There does not appear to be any benefit in choosing one prophylactic over the others if near optimal performance and adequate ankle/subtalar restriction is desired. Other factors, such as comfort, ease of application, and cost, should be considered.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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