Taping Ankle Injuries | How to do it step by step | Tap Out 101
Ankle injuries can be frustrating. They tend to linger in the same way knee injuries do; we ignore them, walk on them, tweak them doing silly things like walking down stairs or stepping out of a car. If you’ve got injury-prone ankles, you know the irritation that comes with a sprain very well. Today, I’m going to show you how to tape a mild sprain so that you can continue using it. Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor or medical professional, and if you’re injured, you should definitely not be like me– go get that ankle checked out. But if you are like me, and you have a tendency to ignore niggling injuries like ankle sprains, try out this technique I learned when I played rugby.
-pre-wrap (mine is green!)
-scissors (if you’re a baby and can’t tear the tape)
First: Get pre-wrap. Wrap your ankle!
Pre-wrap is a foamy tape that you use underneath athletic tape so that the athletic tape doesn’t stick to your skin. Wrap any part of your ankle that you intend to tape with pre-wrap. My pre-wrap job is a little messy, but it’s difficult to tape yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s always better to have someone help you if you can.
Here, I’ve taped the “anchors” on the top of my ankle and the middle of my foot. You should leave some pre-wrap outside the anchors; don’t tape directly on your skin. That would defeat the purpose of the pre-wrap and make taking the wrap off very uncomfortable. These shouldn’t be so tight you’re cutting off circulation to your toes, but they shouldn’t be too loose either. Keep your foot flexed so that they aren’t too tight later.
When you’re doing this part of the process, it’s important to have your foot flexed. I like to start at the top of the ankle, right where the top tape is, then wrap underneath and around to the other side. This should be like a hammock for your foot.
I do this twice, then I repeat the process around my heel. You can see my taping job is a little bit messy, but it doesn’t have to look pretty at this point– it’s all going to be covered up eventually. What’s important for this part is that it’s securing your ankle properly so that you don’t injure it further. Smooth down the ends of the tape, making sure the tape is lying flush against the curves of your ankle at all times. If it doesn’t lie flat, it won’t support your ankles properly.
I used contrasting tape here to make it a little clearer. I start at the instep, wrapping around the heel and meeting the tape back in the middle. You must do this on both sides of your heel. It really helps to secure your ankle against unwanted twisting and lateral movement. I do two heel loops on each side.
Figure eights/Covering the pre-wrap with tape
As the final step, I start at my instep and make figure eights with the tape to cover the rest of the pre-wrap with tape. I also re-tape the anchor loops up and down my ankle, to make sure my foot-hammocks don’t shift around at all. I popped my ankle pretty badly last week as a result of a freak toe-hold accident, and this taping technique has allowed me to train with minimal pain for the last few days. It’s excellent because it minimizes movement of the joint in such a way that it keeps the pain at bay while still giving me the range of motion necessary to pass and play guard.
Unwrapping your ankle
This should go without saying, but it’s generally unwise to try to use a knife and cut towards yourself when unwrapping the wrap. I don’t tape my heel (although you can, if you think it gives you more security), so I like to stick the scissors in there and cut my way out.
Happy training, everyone! Stay injury-free!