Ankle Sprain Taping

Ankle strapping and taping

The following guidelines are for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice before beginning rehabilitation. This 4 stage ankle taping covers a figure of 8 ankle taping, stirrup strapping, heel lock, and basketweave ankle taping. Each stage offers progressively more support or can be done on its own.

Part 1 Ankle Taping Figure of 8

The figure of 8 strapping is the first and probably least supportive stage of ankle strapping. It aims to protect either the lateral ligaments on the outside or the deltoid ligaments on the inside of the ankle. Most ankle sprains will result in torn or stretched lateral ligaments on the outside of the ankle.

Equipment needed – Adhesive spray, underwrap, elastic adhesive bandage, and non-stretch zinc oxide tape. The underwrap is optional and used if someone is particularly hairy. Some athletes prefer to shave the leg to enable better contact and support from the tape rather than use underwrap. The adhesive is used to prevent the underwrap moving against the skin.

Some types of elastic tape can be torn by hand, others require scissors to cut them. The tearable tape is preferable for using pitch side because it can be applied more quickly.

Step 1 – Get the patient to hold their foot up, toes pointing upwards (dorsiflexion position). It is important that the patient keeps their foot in this position because if they relax in whilst the tape is being applied then it may become far too loose. Any strapping will gradually become loose once the patient begins to walk so it is important it is done properly to start with. It is also important not to apply the tape too tightly as once the patient walks around the foot may swell and blood flow will be restricted.

Step 2 – Apply adhesive spray to the leg and wrap the underwrap (if used) around the foot and ankle overlapping as you go.

Step 3 – Ensure the patient’s foot is in the dorsiflexed position and starting on the inside of the ankle apply a support strip of elastic adhesive bandage up and across the inside of the ankle, then down under the foot to the outside of the ankle. Make sure the tape is not pulled too tightly as it passes underneath and up the outside of the heel.

Step 4 – Pass the tape across the front of the ankle, then around the back of the ankle (and Achilles) to make a figure of 8.

Step 5 – Pass the tape across the front of the ankle and down the inside and under the foot again the same as before, but slightly back towards the heel. The tape is then once more passed across the front of the ankle and behind the Achilles as before.

Step 6 – Then, instead of passing under the foot a third time, wrap around the ankle to cover the tape edges of previous passes, then down the inside, under the foot, up the outside and finish at the ankle.

If the taping has been done well there will be no creases in the tape, or gaps at the back of the heel as these can cause blisters.

Part 2 – Stirrups

An ankle strapping can have different stages or levels of support. Stage 1 demonstrated a figure of 8 technique which can be used on its own or applied before applying stage 2 stirrups.

Part 3 – Heel lock

The third stage of ankle strapping follows a figure of 8 first stage which is the least supportive followed by stirrup straps which protect the lateral ligaments. Any of these taping techniques can be used on their own as required of all together for maximum support.

 Part 4 – Basketweave ankle strapping

This stage 4 of the ankle strapping technique called a basketweave technique. It is the most supportive of all of the ankle strapping techniques. It supports the lateral ligament complex on the outside and the deltoid ligament complex on the inside.

This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.