Athletes use compression garments (CGs) to improve sport performance, accelerate rehabilitation from knee injuries or to enhance joint position sense (JPS). The position of CGs around the knee may affect knee JPS but the data is inconsistent. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of CG position on healthy adults’ knee joint position sense acuity. In a counterbalanced, single-blinded study, 16 healthy young adults (8 female, age: 25.5 y) performed an active knee joint position-matching task with and without (CON) a below-knee (BK), above-knee (AK), or whole-knee (WK) CG in a randomized order on the dominant (CompDom) or the non-dominant leg (CompNon-Dom). We also determined the magnitude of tissue compression by measuring anatomical thigh and calf cross sectional area (CSA) in standing using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Subjects had less absolute repositioning error (magnitude of error) in BK compared with CON condition. On the other hand, the analysis of the direction of error (constant error) revealed that in each condition subjects tended to underestimate the target position (AK, BK and CON: 75%; WK: 94%). In WK condition there was a significantly larger negative error (−2.7 ± 3.4) as compared with CON (−1.6 ± 3.7) condition. There also was less variable error, in WK compared to BK and CON conditions, indicating less variability in their position sense using a WK CG, regardless of the underestimation. CG reduced thigh CSA by 4.5 cm2 or 3% and calf CSA by Δ1.3 cm2 or 1%. The position of CG relative to the knee modifies knee JPS. The findings helps us better understand how the application of a WK CG may support athletic activities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology