Ankle injuries can be debilitating, but strapping your ankle can help provide support. Follow this 7-step process of how to strap an ankle for effective stability and healing.
Ankle injuries are common, especially among athletes and individuals engaged in physical activities. The most common ankle injury is rolling the ankle to the side, tearing the outside lateral ligaments. Strapping your ankle can provide the necessary support and stability, enabling you to continue your daily routines while promoting healing. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through a step-by-step process on how to strap an ankle effectively.
Prepare Your Ankle for Strapping
Before you begin strapping your ankle, it’s essential to prepare the area properly. Follow these steps:
- Clean the skin: Start by cleaning the skin around your ankle. You can use an alcohol wipe, soapy water, or gently brush the area. Ensure the skin is completely dry.
- Cover cuts or blisters: If you have any cuts or blisters, cover them with a sterile dressing to protect them during the strapping process.
- Apply underwrap (optional): Applying an underwrap like fixomull tape can help protect the skin and make it easier to remove the adhesive tape later. However, this step is not necessary.
- Gather supplies: Ensure you have all the necessary supplies, including adhesive tape (rigid brown tape) and scissors (if preferred, tearing with your hands is also possible).
Step 1: Apply the First Strip of Tape – The Anchor
Start by applying the first strip of tape, known as the anchor, around your leg or shin bone, just above the ankle. Ensure the tape is snug but not too tight, as it should provide support without impeding circulation. The anchor serves as a point to start and finish other strips of tape.
Step 2: Apply the Second Strip of Tape
Begin the second strip of tape on the medial side (inside) of your ankle, starting from the anchor and moving down under the heel. Continue wrapping up to the lateral side (outside) of the ankle, finishing at the anchor. Gently pull the tape upward on the lateral side toward the anchor, providing additional support. This also decreases the chance of rolling the ankle laterally or out to the side.
Step 3: Apply the Third Strip of Tape
Repeat the process described in Step 2, starting from the medial side and wrapping the tape around the ankle. This time, make a slight overlay (~half the tape width) with the previous strip to ensure adequate coverage and stability.
Step 4: Apply the Fourth Strip of Tape
Follow the same procedure as Step 3, creating another slight overlay (~half the tape width) with the previous strip. This layering technique enhances the overall support and stability of the ankle.
Step 5: Apply the Fifth Strip of Tape – Figure 6
Begin the fifth strip of tape on the medial side, creating a figure 6 pattern around the ankle. Start from the medial side, wrap around the back of the ankle, and finish on the medial side again. The tape should finish just below the starting point on the inside of the ankle. This figure 6 pattern provides additional reinforcement and support to the ankle joint. If this sounds confusing please refer to the video above.
Step 6: Apply the Sixth Strip of Tape – Figure 6 (Mid-Foot)
Repeat the figure 6 pattern described in Step 5; however, this time, start from the mid-foot area just above the foot and finish on the lateral ankle. This step adds further stability to the mid-foot region. Again if this sounds a bit confusing please refer to the above video.
Step 7: Apply the Seventh Strip of Tape – The Anchor Lock
Finally, apply the seventh strip of tape as an anchor lock over the initial anchor to secure all the strapping in place. This step helps ensure the stability and longevity of the strapping.
Throughout the strapping process, it’s essential to monitor the skin for proper circulation. Pinch the skin gently at the toes region to ensure there is no excessive tightness or discomfort that may affect blood flow. As you pinch he skin the colour should go yellow, then as you let go the skin colour should quickly return from yellow back to a normal, well perfused and circulated toe or foot. If not, remove strips of tape until it does.
By following this 7-step guide, you can effectively strap your ankle to provide support, stability, and promote healing. Ankle strapping is beneficial for managing ankle injuries, preventing further ligament damage, and enabling you to continue with your daily activities. However, if you’re unsure or experiencing severe pain, it’s recommended to consult with a physiotherapist or healthcare professional for a proper assessment and guidance. Take care of your ankles and prioritise your recovery to stay active and injury-free. For more information on ankle rehabilitation and exercise, please refer to these exercise videos.