How to Wrap a Sprained Ankle

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. If you have a question, just ask. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

A sprained ankle is no fun. Today I'll will show you the correct way to wrap an ankle sprain and also how to wrap your foot for general swelling only.

Most ankle sprains are on the lateral side or the outside of the ankle. When wrapping the ankle with a lateral sprain, you want to keep your foot in a neutral position and your foot turned out slightly (this would be 0 degrees of dorsiflexion and a slight eversion of the ankle). This helps take the pressure off the injured ligaments and tendons.

Start off with wrap rolling open from the top, this will make it easier to roll out. You also want to pull to the outside or lateral side each time to help support the ankle in the eversion direction. Wrap around the top of the ankle just below the belly of the calf muscle. This is your anchor. It should not be very tight higher up, and you want to have it slightly tighter towards the toes to help push the swelling back up the leg, but you don’t want to cut off the circulation either.

Once you have the anchor in place, start wrapping down towards the ankle. Now you are going to do a figure 8 pattern at the ankle by crossing down under the foot, and then back up around the ankle. Do this several times, slowly moving down the foot. Then wrap a few times down at the ball of the foot for another anchor, and then work your way back up with the same figure 8 pattern at the ankle. Make sure there is good circulation at the toes.

If you are wrapping your foot to help with swelling only, you will start at the toes, and put an anchor at the balls of your foot. This end will be slightly tighter, but not too tight to cut off the circulation. You will loosen it slightly as you go to help move the swelling out of the foot. With each wrap, cover the previous wrap by about half, and work your way up the ankle to just below the belly of the calf. Then come back down making an overlap like a figure 8.

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