Introduction: How to Tape an Ankle

Picture of How to Tape an Ankle

Learning how to tape an ankle is pretty easy to learn how to do, but is hard to perfect.  This set of instructions is aimed toward people with knowledge in sports medicine.  To successfully complete these instructions, people should know general anatomy, and know basic medical terms.  There are two things required to tape an ankle: athletic tape and tape prewrap.  A full roll of standard 2 in. athletic tape should be enough, but a second roll may be required.  The steps in this instruction need to be followed in order.    

Step 1: Applying Prewrap

Picture of Applying Prewrap

1.     To apply prewrap, pull about two inches away from the roll. 

2. Place the prewrap about 1/3 of the way up away from the ankle that you are taping.  Start slowly unrolling as you are working on going down towards the foot. 

3.      Once you get to the start of the foot, leave the heel uncovered and wrap 2/3 the length of the foot.  There should be no gaps in covering the foot and shin except the heel.  In any area there should only be one layer of prewrap although a slight overlap is acceptable in when working away from where prewrap was just applied.  You should not struggle with unrolling the prewrap, instead let the prewrap unroll the way it wants to and then place it on the foot/ankle.  

 

Step 2: Caution and Notes

Caution: When applying the tape to the body, it should be tight and firm but it SHOULD NOT cut off blood circulation to the leg or foot.  Ask your patient if there is anything uncomfortable about it.


Note: some pictures are shown have lines showing individual sections of tape.  These will not show up on your taped ankle.  Some steps are also shown using black tape to show how to do steps easier.  There is no difference in the tape other than color.

Step 3: Taping the Shin

Picture of Taping the Shin

1.      To start the shin, pull out about 2 inches of tape away from the roll. 

2.      Hold the tape horizontally and place the started tape half way directly on the skin, half way off the prewrap. 

3.       Pull the tape all the way around the leg, slowly placing the tape on the shin making sure it is tight, and half way on the prewrap, half way on direct skin. 

4.       When you get all around the leg, tear the tape off the roll and place any excess over the tape that is already there.

5.       Pull about 2 inches of tape away from the roll

6.       Place the tape just underneath just underneath the top layer of tape.  There should be no gap between the two sections of tape, and it is encouraged to overlap the top section about 1/8 of an inch.

7.      Just like the top section, unroll and place the tape on the leg working all the way around the leg.  Tear off the tape from the roll, and overlap the excess.

8.      Repeat steps 5-7 just below the tape applied in step 7 until you get to the start of the ankle.

Step 4: Making Stirrups

Picture of Making Stirrups

1.       To start making stirrups, pull about two inches of tape away from the roll.

2.       Place the tape vertically at the beginning of tape on the shin on the inside (medial side) of the leg.  Picture an imaginary line dividing the inside (medial side) in half.

3.       Pull the tape straight down towards the foot while sticking the tape on the leg. 

4.      Once you get to the bottom of the foot do not stop make sure to not cover the heel.

5.        Keep pulling the tape around the bottom of the foot to the outside (lateral side) of the foot.

6.       Pull the tape towards the top of the leg, slowly sticking the tape to the leg.  Stop when you get to the top of the tape on the shin.  Keep in mind the imaginary line that divides the side of the foot.

7.       Repeat steps 2-6 right in front with of the tape that was just applied in steps 2-6 although you will not have to worry about the heel when you get to the bottom of the foot.  Be sure to keep the tape right next to the tape from the previous step.  

Step 5: Closing the Stirrups

Picture of Closing the Stirrups

1.       Start by pulling about two inches of tape from the roll. 

2.       Place the tape in the middle of the shin at the beginning of the tape. 

3.       Slowly wrap the tape around the leg sticking it to the leg as you go around

4.       Tear off the tape once you get all the way around the leg.

5.       Overlap any excess tape

6.       Repeat steps 1-5 just below the tape from steps 1-5.  Make sure there is no gap between the two sections.

Step 6: Making Horseshoes

Picture of Making Horseshoes

1.       Start by pulling about two inches of tape from the roll

2.      Place the tape right at the end of the leg on the inside (medial side)

3.       Pull the tape around the back of the ankle while sticking the tape to the ankle

4.     Stop and tear off right before you get to the start of the front on the outside (lateral side)

5.      Repeat steps 1-4 just below the tape in steps 1-4

Step 7: Making Heel Locks

Picture of Making Heel Locks

1.       Start by pulling about two inches of tape from the roll.

2.      Place the tape right at the end of the leg at about a 45 degree angle down towards the foot on the inside (medial side) of the leg.

3.       Slowly unroll the tape around the ankle keeping the 45 degree angle.  You should end up towards at the bottom of the foot

4.      Pull the tape towards the top and behind the ankle

5.       Wrap the tape around the ankle until you get to the front and tear the tape from the roll

6.       Repeat steps 1-5 only start on the lateral side (outside) 

Step 8: Making Figure Eights

Picture of Making Figure Eights

1.       Pull about 1 foot of tape away from the roll and tear it off

2.       Find out the approximate half way point

3.       Place this point about ¼ of an inch in front of of the heel on the bottom of the foot while holding both ends of the tape.

4.       Wrap the end in your left hand up and around the foot towards the top of the foot and stick the tape at the beginning of the foot and end of the ankle

5.      Repeat step 4 with the tape end in your right hand

6.       Repeat steps 1-5 placing the center of the tape right above the tape applied in steps 1-5

Comments

sdewater ii (author)2012-09-27

You forgot to use heel and lace pads. This is essential to prevent cuts and blisters from the tape to the patient. If you don't have heel and lace pads, 2-3 folded (or wrapped) layers of Powerflex/Powerfast or any other stretchable self-adhesive tape with or without vaseline will do. Vaseline will also keep the skin moisturized to help prevent blisters and cuts as well, but can also be used to prevent further damage to the tissue if a blister or cut should come about.

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