How To Tape A Thumb

The aim of thumb taping is to protect the ligaments from injury or support them whilst recovering from a thumb sprain. In particular to prevent the thumb bending backwards and injuring the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints at the base of the thumb.


Materials Needed

  • 2.5cm (1 inch) non stretch zinc oxide sports tape.
  • 1.25cm (half inch) non stretch zinc oxide sports tape.
  • You could use only 2.5cm tape and tear lengthways, but the thinner tape is best for fingers and thumbs.
Knee supports

Zinc Ocide Sports Tape (UK) (USA)

How to tape a thumb (MCP joint)

The following is meant as a guide. Always check with your physio or doctor if you are unsure.

Prepare the Skin

Make sure the skin is clean and dry. If you have sensitive skin or are alergic to latex then you might want to make sure you have hypoallergenic tape which doesnt irritate.

Apply anchors

how to tape a thumb - apply anchors

Apply a piece of tape around the wrist. This serves as an anchor to attach the supporting strips. It is OK to use non stetch tape around the wrist because there are no muscles in that area. Therefore, your wrist will not expand when you move making the tape too tight. However, the anchor doesn’t need to be too tight but should be secure enough to hold the rest of the tape in place.

Apply support strips

how to tape a thumb - support strips

With a strip of 1.25cm tape apply a supporting strip from the wrist anchor in a figure of 8 across the thumb, around the back and across to the anchor on the other side. Repeat this 2 or three times. Apply another piece of 2.5cm tape around the wrist to secure the support strips. This stabilizes the base of the thumb. However, you can still bend it backwards.

Thumb support

Thumb Supports (UK) (USA)

How to prevent the thumb bending backwards

Next, apply a strip of 2.5cm tape from the inside of the wrist, across the palm, over the web of the thumb and across the back of the hand to the wrist anchor. Then apply support strips of 2.5cm tape from the palm, around the base of the thumb and secure at the back. Repeat these strips making sure you cannot bend the thumb backwards.

Tips on how to tape a thumb

  • Do not apply tape directly to skin if you have an open wound or rash.
  • If you experience any numbness, tingling, or loss of circulation, the tape may be too tight. Remove it and reapply with less tension.
  • It might be helpful to practice a few times or have someone help you to ensure the tape is applied correctly for optimal support.
Scroll to Top