Kinesiology Taping an Ankle Sprain

anklesprainAnkle sprains are traditionally associated with thick white strips of rigid athletic tape but no more…kinesiology taping works wonders!

We’ve all done it. That quick twist of the ankle from stepping into rut or landing slightly off balance. It often seems like the most benign of situations.

An ankle sprain can happen very unexpectedly and become an incredible challenge to manage. Proper rehabilitation of a moderate to severe sprain can take many months and creates a susceptibility to doing it again quite easily in the future.

The foot is attached to the leg by a series of ligaments that go from the lower leg bones of the foot bones – a set on the inside ankle bone and another on the outside ankle bone. It’s our flexibility around that ankle joint that makes a sprain – or a tearing of the ligaments- quite easy to do.

While it’s possible to sprain the inside ankle, the outside ankle accounts for more than 80% of ankle sprains.

Even with mild injury, the swelling around the ankle joint can be quite impressive so icing, elevation and decompression are very important.

Kinesiology taping for decompression is a comfortable and effective way to assist with swelling in the early stages of recovery. During rehabilitation kinesiology tape provides much needed proprioceptive feedback -similar to a brace but much more comfortable.

There are 2 methods illustrated here. Try both and see if one seems to work better. There are no hard rules about using kinesiology tape.

If you haven’t reviewed the Kinesiology Taping Basics Section, please do so before getting tangled in tape. Both of these methods require good “tape handling skills”!

ankle-sprainMethod #1

Begin with your ankle in a relaxed position off the end of a chair. You will be using one long sling of tape.

Start the tape on the belly of your inside calf muscle. Direct the tape across the top of the ankle and around your outside ankle bone. Keep the tape coming under the arch of your foot as you point your toes towards the ceiling within comfort levels.

The tape comes through the arch, crosses in front of the ankle and ends on the outside calf muscle. Apply little to no stretch.


Method #2

  1. Begin by pointing your toes towards the ceiling (within comfort levels).  Start the tape at the baby toe bone and pull tape across the bottom of the foot and up the through the arch.  Pull the tape tighter through the arch.
  2. Now let the foot relax so that the toes drop back down and apply the tape across the top of the foot (aiming for the outside ankle bone) without much stretch to the tape.
  3. Wrap the tape towards the Achilles and end on the front of the shin. Start with another piece of tape next to the first one and repeat.