Ankle Taping

Ankle strapping and taping

Ankle taping techniques are often used to treat a sprained ankle, as well as give additional support during rehabilitation exercises. Here we demonstrate a 4 stage ankle taping technique. Each stage offers progressively more support or can be done on its own.

The following guidelines are for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice before beginning rehabilitation.

Part 1 Ankle taping figure of 8

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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.
  • This is because if they relax whilst the tape is being applied, it may be far too loose.
  • Any ankle strapping will gradually become loose once the patient begins to walk. Therefore it is important it is done properly to start with.
  • Do apply tape too tightly as once the patient starts walking the foot may swell, restricting blood flow.

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.
  • 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.
  • Then down the inside and under the foot again, 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. Make sure the strip covers the tape edges of previous strips.
  • Then down the inside, under the foot, up the outside and finish at the ankle.

If your ankle taping has been done well, there will be no creases in the tape, or gaps at the back of the heel. These may otherwise cause blisters.


Part 2 Ankle taping stirrups

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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 Ankle taping heel lock

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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

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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.