How to Wrap a Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle is an injury to the ligaments that support the bone in your ankle joint. To help stabilize the joint, wrapping the ankle is an important step to take. Knowing how to do this can prevent further complications and speed up your recovery.

Wrapping your ankle too tight will most likely constrict circulation, while wrapping it too loosely will allow too much movement. You need to find a happy medium.

A few ways to wrap your ankle include,

  • Ankle brace
  • Ace bandage
  • Kinesiology tape

Before you begin the process of wrapping your ankle, you should gently wash and dry the area. Ensuring the area is dry is very important as you could irritate the skin. Make sure the material you are using are readily available and make sure to take your time.

Elastic Ankle Brace

Most times, braces are used for supporting your ankle if you’re doing a lot of walking, exercise, or sports after your sprained ankle is mostly healed. There are different kinds of braces, some of which have Velcro straps, some have laces, and some just fit snuggly around your ankle.           

Lace-Up Brace: Insert your heel in the hole at the bottom of the brace, then tie the laces snuggly (not too tight), wrap the inside strap across the top of your foot, then continue wrapping the strap under your foot and heel.

Velcro Brace: Insert your heel in the hole at the bottom of the brace. Secure the Velcro hook to the loop on the outside of the ankle and pull the strap tight. Wrap the outside strap across the top of your foot and continue with wrapping the strap under the foot and heel.

Elastic/Compression Brace: Slip the brace on like you would a sock. Depending on the type, the balls of your feet will be exposed, as well as your heel. Make sure to get the correct size when shopping for these types of braces.  

ACE Bandage

Step 1: Hold your ankle at a 90-degree angle and start wrapping where your toes meet the body of your foot. Wrap the bandage around the ball of your foot once, keeping it slightly taut.

Step 2: Start circling your way around the arch of your foot and pull the bandage diagonally from the bottom of your toes, across your foot’s top, and circle around the ankle. Then bring the bandage diagonally across the top of the foot and under the arch in a figure 8 pattern.

Step 3: Wrap the bandage around your ankle and foot in a figure 8 pattern, moving toward the heel on the bottom and the calf at the top.

The wrap should cover the entire foot and about 2 inches above the ankle. The wrap should be snug, but not too tight. Your final step is to fasten the wrap with clips or tape.

Kinesiology Tape

Step 1: Take a piece of tape and apply it to the outside of the leg, just above the ankle, then down to the outside of the ankle and under the heel, until you reach the inside of the ankle. You can gently stretch the tape when you reach the outside ankle bone as it passes under your heel, but do not stretch it when it reached the inside of your heel.

Step 2: Next you will apply a piece of tape on the inside of your foot where the arch starts (horizontally), around to the back of your heel toward the outside of the foot. As you pass the heel, angle the tape down to cross the inside arch of your foot, ending near the inside ankle. Again, you can gently stretch the tape around the back of your heel.

Step 3: This step is similar to step 2, but you will apply the tape on the outside of the foot, continuing around the back of your heel toward the inside of your foot. After passing your heel, angle the tape down to cross the arch of the foot, ending near the outside ankle.

Once complete, the tape should be higher on the outside of the ankle and lower on the inside. Every strip of tape should end on skin, versus on another piece of tape. This is important for adhesion.

In conclusion, ankle braces are a good way to reduce pain and provide you with extra stability for your foot as you heel. If you are not certain you should be using a brace, or are not certain about wrapping techniques, it is important to consult your doctor.