Ankle Strapping

Tips on Ankle Strapping

Being involved with sports helps people to improve skills, but one of those skills may not be one that you would expect:  ankle strapping.  Ankle injuries are very common in many activities, and one of the common methods of helping them to heal is by wrapping them tightly.  Learning the proper technique to do this correctly will help to get you back on your feet more quickly.

Ankle injuries are particularly common with sports, such as soccer, hockey, track or basketball.  However, participating in a sport is not the only way to incur injury; it can happen during an activity as widespread and common as simply walking.  Probably the most frequent injury is that of an ankle sprain, occurring when the joint is twisted excessively beyond its normal range.  Wearing heels or unexpectedly stepping on an uneven surface can cause the person to become off balance, with the ankle twisting as the upper body lurches.  Some individuals simply have weak ankles, with very little exertion required to cause injury.

When the ankle twists at the joint, the ligaments that connect the ankle to the leg are pulled beyond their ability.  Stretching past its normal range will cause the ligament to stretch or tear.  A sprain of the ankle means that the injury affected the ligament, which connects bone to bone, while a strain means that a muscle or tendon has been damaged.  Numerous ligaments are present in the ankle; their purpose to hold the individual steady.  They are prevalent around the perimeter of the ankle as well as within.  Most often it is the ligaments that are found on the outside of the ankle. 

Treating a sprain such as this will likely involve ankle strapping.  This action will avoid further damage to an existing injury.  It is important to note that diagnosis and treatment of an ankle sprain should not be self treated.  In order to ensure full and proper rehabilitation, a medical profession must be called upon.  When strapping is used as a compression method of treating the sprain, first a soft felt brace is placed at the site of the malleoli to limit the amount of swelling that would occur.  Bandaging begins at the toes and works over the foot, around the heel, back to the foot, then around to the heel again; continuing to alternate from heel to foot to cover all areas and leaving no gaps.

This is important, as fluid will accumulate in an area where it is allowed.  Once the entire foot and heel have been strapped, proceed up beyond the ankle area.  The strapping should extend upwards about mid calf to ensure that all areas affected by any building fluid are compressed.

Although strapping is a useful tool for an existing injury, it is even more useful as a preventive measure.  When an individual is planning to participate in sports knowing that weak ankles are an inherent issue, ankle strapping provides extra support that will prevent twisting or bending that could cause damage.  There are two methods of strapping that will offer this extra support.  The first begins with bandaging around the foot just under the toes, then bringing the bandage up around the lower ankle to cover the back of the heel.  Bringing the bandage around to the front again, wrap around the mid foot.  Repeat this process, with the wrap around the ankle being placed slightly higher.  Wrap around 3 times, covering all areas.  The second method is quite similar, but forms a figure “8” instead by bringing the bandage higher up on the ankle after the first foot wrap. 

Since ankle injuries are such a common occurrence among anyone who walks, it will be helpful to know the specific methods of ankle strapping.  Best used as prevention but also helpful after an injury, strapping can help to prevent further harm.