Thumb taping study

Finished Recruiting!

Children who have sustained an injury to the developing brain can often have weakness and stiffness affecting how they use their hand and arm.  We wanted to assess the feasibility of using elastic tape to improve thumb and wrist posture and use in these infants and young children.

What was the study about?

The study took place at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Children were in two groups, one receiving routine care for 2 weeks then taping for 2 weeks.  The other group received taping for the 4 week period of the study.  Videotaped assessments of the hand and wrist posture and function were undertaken at baseline, 2 and 4 weeks with tape on and off.  Families also completed a questionnaire to provide feedback regarding the experience.

Who took part?

We recruited 20 infants and young children aged 6 months - 3 years who had difficulties with hand and wrist posture and use, worse on one side than the other, following an injury to the developing brain.


Family feedback in general positive, though some kids tended to pull the tape off! The videotaped assessments used didn't show any clear differences in hand function with and without the tape. However, we are having a more detailed look at this using video coding. 


This pilot study was funded through the Paul Polani Award (British Academy of Childhood Disability / Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health).

Thumb taping team

The team: (from top left, clockwise): Vicki Nelson (OT), Sue Kelly (PT), Debra Gardner (OT), Janice Pearse (OT), Anna Basu (NIHR Clinical Trials Fellow/Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer), Jill Kisler (Consultant, Child Development and Neurodisability).