Introduction: How to Tape an Ankle (Like a Trainer)

These instructions will show you how to tape an ankle using the methods of an athletic trainer.

These instructions are adapted from

Step 1: Materials

The materials needed for this process:

Step 2: Patient Positioning

Position the patient on top of the table with the ankle hanging off. Position the foot at a 90-degree angle.
The patient should not be wearing socks during the ankle taping.

Step 3: Pre-Wrap Application

Apply the pre-wrap, covering from the middle of the calf to the middle of the foot. The pre-wrap will keep the tape from sticking to the skin.

Step 4: Anchor Application

In this step you will apply anchors to keep the pre-wrap in place. Put two anchors around the top of the pre-wrap and one at the bottom. The two anchors at the top should overlap each other about half way.

Step 5: Stirrup Application

In this step you will apply a stirrup; a stirrup is used to prevent the ankle from rolling. Starting on the interior part of the leg at the top of the pre-wrap, go down over the ankle, under the arch of your foot and up the opposite side, over the ankle, and end at the top of the pre-wrap (on the opposite side you started at). Make sure the stirrup is tight enough to prevent the ankle from moving from side to side.

Step 6: Horseshoe Application

Now you will apply a horseshoe; the horseshoe works together with the stirrup to provide more stability for the foot. Starting on top of the foot in the middle, go over the ankle, around the Achilles tendon, back over the ankle on the other side, and end back where you started from.  The second & third horseshoe should be placed lower than the first horseshoe that was applied.

Step 7: Basket Weave

Repeat Step 4 and then Step 5 alternately, two additional times to create a basket weave (do Step 4, do Step 5, do Step 4, do Step 5).  Make sure that while repeating to move the starting position lower than the previous but still overlapping the tape.

Note: Some methods do not alternate Horseshoes and Stirrups, but do them separately. I use the basket weave method because it promotes extra support.

Step 8: Heel Locks

In this step you will be applying heel locks, which provide support for the heel. Before the heel lock application, apply an anchor at the top over the stirrups to keep the stirrups in place. Then apply the first heel locks, starting at the top of the foot, go below the foot, around the heel, and back to where you started. Apply a second heel lock beginning at the same start point, but moving in the opposite direction.

Note: If you do not remember how to do an anchor, refer to Step 2.

Step 9: Figure 8's

This step of applying figure 8’s ensures stability by targeting the areas most likely to be injured. To apply figure 8’s, start at the top of the foot, go towards the interior of the leg, around the leg just above the ankle, across/over the top of the foot, under the arch of the foot, and back over to your starting position. You should make an 8 shape. Apply twice. Make sure that the tape is covering the ankle and not the heel.

Step 10: Fill-Ins

Apply fill-ins, covering over any gaps where you can still see the pre-wrap. Make sure to apply in separate strips, and not in one continuous piece of tape. It is okay if the pre-wrap on the foot is showing, but everything above should be completely covered in tape.