Being an athlete, your body is put under extra stress, especially with sports that are more physical or require more movement. Ankle wrapping is, therefore, a common practice among athletes. Though there are several reasons why an athlete may wrap their ankles, the most common reason is to restrict the range of motion. Restricting the range of motion in the ankle helps prevent injury. If an injury did occur, taping can also help athlete’s recover because the tape acts as a stabilizer.
The Correct Way
Wrapping ankles, either to prevent injury or to help with an injury, is important to do correctly. However, it can be hard to perfect. The first step in wrapping your ankles is to prep them. The materials needed in order to properly tape an ankle are athletic tape, pre-wrap, tape adherent, and heel and lace pads. All these materials are key, despite some athletes skipping prep.
Before beginning the wrap, make sure the ankle is elevated and the foot is pointing up at a 90-degree angle. Do not keep the ankle in a slouched or downward position. Then, adhesive can be applied to the area where the wrap will be placed. The adhesive is most commonly in spray form. Without the adhesive, the wrap will not stay in place properly.
Once the adhesive has been applied, the heel and lace pads should be placed on the top and the backside of the ankle. These pads help prevent blisters from forming from inside the wrap. Take note where the most friction is likely to happen so that the pads can be placed more accurately.
After the heel and lace pads have been positioned, pre-wrap must be applied over the entire area. The only area that does not need to be wrapped is the heel of the foot. The area wrapped must include the end of the foot all the way to the back end of your calf muscle. Pre-wrapping is an important step because it protects the skin from the tape, plus it adds an additional layer of support.
Using tape to anchor the pre-wrap in place is important. The anchors need to have enough tension to keep the wrap in place, but light enough so that they do not cause discomfort. Make sure to place one to two anchors at the top of the pre-wrap, and one around the arch of the foot where the pre-wrap ends.
Stirrups are essentially U-shaped pieces of tape that are meant to stabilize the anchors you placed. Use at least three pieces of tape that go from the base of your heel to both sides of the top anchor (which is the tape you placed at the top of the pre-wrap at your calf), which creates the U-Shape. Once again, the balance of tension is crucial.
Finishing up the Wrap
Finishing up the wrap is all about holding the anchors and stirrups in place. Add tape horizontally on the achilles tendon, making it long enough to go over the base of the stirrups you placed. Then, you will create two figure eights with the tape. Begin at the top of the foot where the foot connects to the ankle, place the tape under the foot and then back up, and around the back of the ankle. Then, add heel locks with the tape and then go up horizontally with the tape and completely cover the wrap.
The main thing to remember when ankle wrapping is to place the tape correctly and layer it in order to create support, along with tension. Doing the prep work is also key, as it keeps the wrap together. Being an athlete means risk of injury, especially in the ankles, so keep them wrapped correctly!