What to buy
You'll need to go to the pharmacy and pick up:
- athletic tape (there are different kinds, so ask the pharmacist to point you in the right direction), (see our article on KT tape)
- 2” by 2” thin foam pads (similar to gauze),
- a can of quick-drying adherent spray (commonly available near the athletic tape),
- and a pre-wrap material (looks like a roll of athletic tape put it's a foamy, cushy, non-adhesive material).
- The first and maybe most crucial step to tape your ankle is to keep your foot flexed firmly at a 90 degree angle throughout the entire taping. If you get lazy and relax your foot, you'll be unable to walk properly once taped—let alone run.
- Lightly spray your ankle, foot (not near the toes), and lower shin area with the quick-dry adherent.
- Place a foam pad on the back of your heel and the top of your foot where it meets the leg.
- Wrap one continuous piece of the cushy, non-adherent material around the area you'll be taping (from in-step to just below your calf muscle). This will protect your hair and skin from getting pulled and damaged by the athletic tape's adhesive—ouch!
- Now place a strip of athletic tape around the top of the foam cushion—not on the skin. This piece should start at your shin bone, go around your leg, overlap slightly and end near the shin bone (and go around your leg once only). Rip the tape and apply a second similar piece just below it, staggered about ¼“ to ½.” Make sure each piece of tape is tight but still allows for functioning and moving.
- Now you'll place place a long strip of tape from the inside leg down under the heel and back up the outside of your leg—be sure to keep your foot flexed. Place three total pieces like this staggering each one at a slightly different angle 1/4” to 1/2” apart. It should look like the stirrup of a horse saddle.
- Then tape a piece from the inside of the ankle, around the back of the heel, to the inside of the heel (covering your ankle bone). It should make a “U,” not connecting in the front.
- Your next step to complete this ankle taping is to make one continuous strip of tape in a figure-8 fashion around the heel, around the foot, back around the heel, and so on. Make 3-4 complete figure-8s. Now you'll fill in single loops of tape from the top of the shin to the ankle and fill in a few less-taut strips around the in-step.
- Each loop should go around your leg/foot once only...so you'll rip and tape, rip and tape. The strips should be 1/2” to 1” staggered with the top few strips on the upper shin being angled (start the tape on the shin bone, angled down a bit towards the ankle, loop it, and rip the tape at the shin bone again, then repeat 1” lower). The tape should be even or level (not angled) near the lower shin/ankle and in-step.
Happy ankle taping!
Below, I've put in a good ankle taping video that will help you understand what the process is about.