How to Tape an Ankle for Football

Professional athletes and trainers know how to tape an ankle for football, but many people who have never played organized sports don’t. It’s quite different from a gauze wrap, which is applied primarily for cuts and lacerations, as well as used to stabilize joints when off the field. If you want to tape an ankle for football, however, you need to know the proper way to do it to avoid injury.

  1. Toes. This is the most important step to remember when you want to tape an ankle for football. Keep your toes, or the toes of the person receiving the wrap, slightly flexed and pointed outward. Failure to do this will restrict the foot to a much more immobile position, which could incur injury or aggravate an existing one.
  2. Trimming. To tape an ankle for football, you must make sure the tape lays flat against the skin. The tape may have a tendency to buckle off the skin. If this happens, cut a small V into the portions that are sticking up. You don’t need a big V; a small one will do. This allows you to smooth the tape so that it lays properly on the skin. Failure to do this may result in the tape becoming loose and unable to affix properly. If this happens, you’ll need to reapply the wrap with fresh tape.
  3. Start above the ankle. Take the roll of tape and wrap it twice around the leg two inches above the ankle bone. This will be a closed loop, meaning you will need to cut the tape. Unlike a wrap done with gauze, a tape wrap will not be performed with a “running” wrap, meaning the tape is never cut but rather redirected. You cannot afford to have lumps or warped edges on your tape wrap, so cutting it for length to correspond to each of these moves is recommended.
  4. Then tape around the ankle. Start at the spot where you just taped the circle above the ankle. Start on the inside of the leg, then wrap the tape diagonally across the outside ankle bone. From there, wrap it around the Achilles’ tendon on the back of the foot before wrapping it underneath the heel of the foot. Once it is under the heel, tape it up the outside of the leg across the outside ankle bone. Cut it off when it reached the circle of tape above the ankle.
  5. Repeat #3. Repeat this step one more time, performing it exactly the same way.
  6. Repeat again. To tape an ankle for football, you will want to follow the instructions in #3 again. The only exception is that you don’t finish the wrap the same way. Instead of bringing it up the outside of the leg, you will angle it toward the front of the leg. Cut it off when it reaches the circle of tape that you wrapped in step #2. You want to angle it toward the front in this step because it will provide extra stability for the foot and provide a greater all-around cover for the ankle since you’ve only been covering the sides and back until now.
  7. Close the heel. You should have an open spot at the heel. The size of the spot will vary depending on the size of the person receiving the rap and the size of their legs. When you tape an ankle for football, however, you’re taping the entire foot. It is called an ankle wrap only because it is the most vulnerable spot for injury. Taking several small strips, tape over the heel until it is completely covered.
  8. Secure the ends. By now, you should have several ends of tape on the circle you taped in step two To secure these ends, wrap a length of tape on top of the circle. Make sure the tape is long enough to wrap at least two times. This prevents any of the tape ends from getting pulled out, which would compromise the integrity of the wrap.

Taping an ankle for football is not difficult. When done right, it can keep you in the game by preventing injury and lessening the impact of an existing injury.

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