Here we demonstrate how to tape the knee following a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury.
Medically reviewed by Dr. Chaminda Goonetilleke, 22nd Dec. 2021
What is the purpose of ACL taping?
The purpose of ACL sprain taping is to support the knee following injury and to make the athlete feel more confident when moving around. Taping is important if your knee is unstable as it will help protect other structures (ligaments and cartilage).
Do not tape if you are unsure of the injury, or the purpose of taping the knee. This can sometimes give you a false sense of security and you may damage the knee even more.
Take your program with you to the gym or training field. Our step-by-step ACL Sprain Rehab app tells you what treatment and exercises to do each day and tracks your progress.
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When should I use tape?
ACL sprain knee taping can be done in the early stages as well as later on when returning to full training.
A good taping technique can provide good support to the knee joint in general, and often more support than some of the cheaper hinged knee braces.
However, the effectiveness of the tape will reduce over time as it stretches.
You will need to be re-applied regularly to maintain support for the joint, particularly during competitive sport.
ACL sprain taping (play video)
ACL support taping
All taping techniques follow the same basic principles.
Support taping is similar for all knee ligament injuries, but will differ slightly depending on which ligament in particular you wish to protect.
Step 1 – anchors
Place anchor strips around the lower leg and knee. Do not apply these too tight.
Use elastic tape for anchors so it allows room to stretch as your muscles expand when exercises.
Step 2 – Support strips
Apply support strips between the anchor strips.
If you wish to provide additional lateral (sideways) support then add extra support strips to both sides of your knee.
Step 4 – Finishing strips
Apply finishing strips in the same way you did the anchor strips.
These hold the support strips firmly in place.