How to tape a sprained ankle

Sports Injury Prevention - Preventative strapping

Strapping can be used effectively in both the prevention and treatment of sports injuries.

As an aid to prevention, the role of strapping is to decrease the frequency and severity of injury. Injury can be prevented, or the risk of injury can be reduced, by effective strapping tape.

Prevention is better than cure

In many professional sports, clubs have large financial investments in their playing staff and cannot afford to lose a player at any stage of the playing season. Therefore, clubs use strapping tape as a form of insurance against ankle injuries. This, in turn, helps to reduce loss of performance time by any player.

In amateur sport, athletes risk the same injuries, although there is generally little encouragement to take such preventative measures even though the amateur risks the consequence of time off work and paying medical bills. In these situations, the use of strapping tape, particularly for the high risk sports such as Football, Netball, Basketball, Hockey etc, is potentially far more important to the individual where the cost of prevention could be far less than the cost of the treatment.

Ankle taping technique offering maximum support in helping to prevent Lateral Ligament Sprains

Preparation: Shave the ankle region at least 12 hours before taoing. (Otherwise, use Leukowrap to prevent painful removal from hairy skin. Leukowrap also eliminates possible skin reactions caused by adhesive.

  • Use Leukowrap (pre-taping underwrap) in a traditional figure 8 "overwrapping" style if you are unable to shave or are sensitive to the adhesive properties of tape.
  • Leukofoam can be cut to shape helping to pad out the hollow areas around the ankle malleoli to provide better tape conformity. Leuko SPray Adhesive can be initially applied to the skin to help secure the Leukowrap and Leukofoam in position.

Anchors are next applied (green). Their function is to firmly attatch the Stirrups (red, first stirrup). Leuko sports tape 38mm is the most popular tape for this technique.


Three Stirrups are generally applied (blue, stirrups 2 and 3). These attatch to the anchors starting from medial (inside) to lateral (outside) in a U-shape formation. They provide excellent support.


Figure 6's are the napplied to further counteract the inversion movement that causes injury. These are applied from the medial to the lateral side returning to the medial side after crossing the front of the foot. (first fig 6, red - second fig 6, blue). Locking strap is applied (green) to hold the stirrups and fig 6's in place.


Half Heel Lock is applied to provide further support to the posterior ankle region. Begin the Heel lock on the antero lateral aspect of the lower leg (green), and move inferiorly across the medial aspect of the ankle (obscured) towards the front of the heel. Pass the tape under the foot and across the lateral aspect of the heel at a 45 degree angle (pictured). The tape then passes back to the medial side of the ankle to finish the lateral aspect of the lower leg where originally started. Another half heel lock may be applied in the opposite direction, following exactly the same technique.


Mid foot sling (red A) can be further applied to support the mid-foot region. Further locking straps are applied (red B) to fill any uncovered areas that may cause tape cuts.


Overwrapping is applied using Leukoband Elastic Adhesive bandage (5cm width), in a figure 8 formation. Thie provides mild compression and further secures the taping technique.


The ankle taping technique is completed with figure 8's and a spiral to completely encase the rigid tape.

As a precaution: Ask the patient to walk around to check for any discomfort. Pain, numbness, pins and needles or excessive redness in the foot/ankle region may indicate circulation difficulties. The tape will have to be adjusted if any of these symptoms are present. If the patient advises of a pinching pain around the base of the fifth metatarsal, scissors will be required to cut through to relieve pain. Re-secure with overwrapping of Luekoband Lite.
Biersdorf Australia

CAUTION: If you are injured, seek correct diagnosis and treatment from a qualified Sports Medicine professional (Doctor, Physiotherapist etc.) before taping.

*Reference: Garrick J.G and Requa, R.K., "Role of external support in the prevention of ankle sprain", Medicine in Sports, vol 5, 1973.

Rigid Strapping Tape

The Leuko brand of rigid strapping tape is well-known for its quality and overall superior performance. As testimony to this quality, it has been used by numerous international athletes including Olympic and Commonwealth Games participants since 1974, as well as the Australian Cricket, Netball, Rugby League and Soccer teams.

The superior construction of these tapes and BSN Medical world-renowned adhesive coating technologies, has enabled the Leuko brand to be clear market leader in rigid strapping tape.

Leko Sportstapes are very strong, and when applied correctly, limit the amount of movement that causes injury. The rigid construction provides the best possible support.

Leuko Sportstape Premium and Premium Plus are ideal for all normal preventative taping procedures. To facilitate speed of application, these tapes are made with pinked edges to make the tape easier to tear and helps eliminate annoying tape threads during application. They are available in a variety of sizes to suit all joints and specific taping procedure. Leukotape P, with no pinked edges and a higher component of adhesive mass, is pecifically designed for knee taping for patellofemoral pain where a higher degree of strength is required.

All rigid tapes are coated with rubbber and zinc oxide adhesive masswhich can cause skin problems when applied either frequntly or directly to sensitive skin. To help avoid this, pre-taping underwraps, such as Fixomull Stretchand Leukowrap, can be applied initially to provide a protective layer between the skin and tape.

Underwraps also help to avoid the trauma of removal of the tape. When regularly taping, and to provide maximum adhesion between the tape and skin, the hair should be shaved from the area to be taped ideally 12 hours before application.

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