How to Tape a High Ankle Sprain

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A high ankle sprain (also called a syndesmosis sprain) is an ankle sprain that occurs in the area of your leg from the top of your ankle into your calf area. While rarer than a normal ankle sprain, it is also more serious and can lead to an extended period of rehab and possibly even surgery. If you suffer from any type of sprain, you should follow the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, elevation), and take an anti-inflammatory pain reliever (such as ibuprofen) to help reduce the swelling. You should also consult with your doctor, who can order X-rays to see if there are any broken bones or an MRI to see any damage to muscles, ligaments or tendons. You'll need to keep the ankle protected during the healing process.

Things You'll Need

  • Pre-tape wrap
  • Athletic tape
  • With a pre-wrap tape such as Leukowrap, wrap the ankle with a figure-eight wrapping pattern.

  • Apply a band of tape around the top of the pre-wrapped area to act as an anchor for the stirrups.

  • Add three stirrups to the ankle. Start at the anchor strip, go down the leg, wrap around the foot, and go up the other side of the leg to the anchor strip. Put the stirrup strips next to one another, not on top of one another.

  • Starting at the midpoint of your foot, wrap a strip of tape around the back of your heel. This strip should go over the end of the tibia and fibula, bones in your ankle.

  • Beginning at the bottom of your foot, use a figure-eight pattern to wrap a strip of tape around the top of your foot and around your lower leg (just above the strip that you added in Step 4).

  • Starting at one side of the ankle, wrap the tape over the top of the foot and proceed to wrap the tape over the entire ankle using a figure-eight pattern until the ankle is immobilized.

  • Ask the patient if she has any pain or numbness from the wrapping job. Re-wrap if she does.

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