Medically Reviewed By | Johannah Gregg, DNP FNP-C
A sprained ankle is a frustrating but common injury. Despite being common however, it is still important to take aftercare seriously.
If you sprain your ankle, wrapping it up right away is key. Acting quickly can have several benefits, including helping relieve some of the pain and preventing further injury.
When you start taking steps to treat your sprained ankle, it is important to do it right. At Incrediwear, we’ve put together a guide to help you wrap your sprained ankle properly to avoid aggravating the injury and start the recovery process immediately.
How Do I Know If I Sprained My Ankle?
A sprained ankle occurs when you stretch or tear the ligaments in your ankle. These ligaments help hold the ankle bones together and reinforce the joint for stability.
Ligaments have a limited range of motion as they move with the joint. A sprain results from the ligaments being stretched and extended past their range of motion.
The following symptoms may be signs that you have sprained your ankle:
- Pain, especially when putting weight on your foot
- Swelling around the ankle or calf
- Reduced range of motion
- Bruising around your ankle
These symptoms can help to determine if you may have a sprained ankle. However, it is always a good idea to seek the advice of a medical professional who can give you a more proper diagnosis.
If you think you have sprained your ankle and do not see any improvement over a few days, you should seek medical attention. Still, at the first sign of injury, it is a good idea to wrap your ankle and begin the healing process immediately.
Why Is It Helpful To Wrap My Ankle?
If you have sprained or twisted your ankle, it is a good idea to wrap it as soon as possible. Wrapping your ankle can help reduce swelling and provide added support to the area. This added support allows your ligaments to heal by preventing reoccurrence of sprains and taking some pressure off them.
Effectively treating a sprained ankle can also help to prevent more long-term issues. Repeated sprains or sprains that do not heal properly can lead to joint pain and weakness in the future. Proper treatment from the start helps to prevent the weakening of the joint and reduces your risk of re-injury.
How Do I Wrap My Ankle With Athletic Tape?
In theory, anyone can wrap up their ankle by just going around it with a bandage or athletic tape. However, if you want to support the area and obtain the full benefits, you must wrap it a certain way to effectively brace the area and restrict movement. You should follow a few important steps to wrap a sprained ankle properly.
1. Position the Ankle in a Neutral Position
Before wrapping the ankle, the ankle must be straight with no bending. Make sure not to point your toes up or down. It helps to start when lying down, with your foot pointed straight up. There should be no flexion in the ankle, and your foot should be at a direct right angle with your leg.
2. Pre-Wrap the Ankle
With your ankle in the neutral position, you can begin to wrap the ankle with a soft pre-wrap material. The pre-wrap will protect the skin from the bandaging. Pre-wrap should be wrapped loosely around the ankle. You can start to wrap around the middle of the foot, around the ankle, and then continue to spiral the wrap up the leg until you reach the large part of the calf muscle.
3. Anchor the Tape
Begin wrapping the tape around the ankle by anchoring the tape. Place four strips around the top of the pre-wrap where the skin is still exposed. Half of the tape should cover the skin, and half should cover the top of the pre-wrap to prevent it from falling. The tape should be long enough to wrap around the width of the leg.
4. Tape Down the Leg
Next, place a long strip of tape on each side of your ankle, running down from the top of the tape, around the bottom of the heel, and up to the other side.
5. Spiral the Tape Around the Leg
Start by placing two pieces of tape around the ankle at the halfway point of the tape. As you rip the edges off, you should start to spiral the tape, pointing the ends at an angle down towards the foot. Then, continue to spiral the tape up the leg. Each piece of tape should be long enough to go around the leg once.
6. Reinforce the Heel
After spiraling the tape up the leg, you should start to tape down around the foot to reinforce the heel. Each piece of tape should go over the top front of the ankle, come down around the heel, and back over the top of the foot where the piece of tape was laid. Finish taping by wrapping around the foot.
How Do I Wrap My Ankle With a Bandage?
Wrapping your ankle with a bandage is just as effective as athletic tape, but the process is slightly different.
1. Position the Ankle in a Neutral Position
Just as you would when taping your ankle, you should start with your ankle in a neutral position, without any flexion. Lay your leg on a flat surface with the toes pointing straight upward.
2. Start with an Elastic Bandage Wrap
It helps to start with a narrower bandage that is easier to handle. A bandage wrap about two to five inches wide is easy to work with and will allow you to wrap around the ankle effectively.
Incrediwear provides a bandage that incorporates semiconductor material. This material offers more relief than a standard bandage as it creates cellular vibrations to increase blood flow and improve your body’s ability to bring nutrients and oxygen to the injured area.
In doing so, Incrediwear bandage wrap soothes inflammation, supports recovery, and relieves discomfort.
3. Wrap Toward Your Other Foot
Place the end of the bandage on the front of your ankle and begin wrapping around the ankle toward the other leg. Wrap around the ankle twice. As you wrap, keep in mind that you should wrap tighter toward the lower part of your foot and loosen as you go up the leg.
4. Wrap Around the Bottom of the Foot
Just like with athletic tape, you want to stabilize the ankle and prevent the foot from bending in any direction. Bring the tape around the bottom of the foot and then up and around the ankle to prevent the foot from bending side to side, aggravating the sprain.
5. Repeat the Process
Using the same continuous length of bandage, continue around the bottom of the foot and up around the ankle. Continue this process and gradually go higher up the leg and lower down the foot until the ankle feels completely supported.
Support Your Ankle Properly
After an injury, one of the first steps you should take is to wrap the ankle. However, wrapping your ankle is just part of the recovery process.
In addition to wrapping, you should rest your ankle, use ice to minimize swelling, and elevate the injury. Johanna Gregg, DNP FNP-C also recommends the use of NSAIDs for pain relief, as well as a gradual build back to activity tolerance and strength building.
If you are concerned about reaggravating your injury once it heals, you should also consider wearing an ankle sleeve for added support.
As you work to rehab your sprained ankle, Incrediwear has your back. Incrediwear is designed with technology to improve blood flow, accelerate recovery, and temporarily relieve pain.
Sprained Ankle: Symptoms, Types, Treatment & Recovery | Cleveland Clinic