How to Tape an Ankle for Football

Doctor bandaging her patient ankle

Taping an ankle for football is crucial in order to prevent ankle sprains and protect past or present sprains from re-injury. Football requires many dynamic cuts and shifts in motion that require high levels of ankle stabilization and control. Although tape shouldn’t be used in every situation, intense competition may elicit the need for ankle taping. Ankle taping should be performed by a certified athletic trainer, but some schools and programs may not be able to afford a trainer. In this case, it's best to know how to tape your ankle yourself.

Bend your foot so that it forms an “L” shape.

Place the 2-by-2-inch square dressing pad over the bottom of your ankle so that it covers the bottom of your lower leg just above your ankle bone and the top portion of your foot just below your ankle bone.

Wrap the padded pre-wrap in a circular fashion three inches above your ankle.

Continue using the pre-wrap roll and circle the wrap around the bottom of your foot. Make circular loops above your ankle and around the bottom of your foot until your entire foot, except your toes, have been covered. This usually takes four to six full loops.

Place more pre-wrap on the foot by circularly wrapping at the beginning of your foot arch and wrapping upward to about 2 inches above your ankle bone.

Continue wrapping the loops around your foot arch to the 2-inch mark above your ankle bone while slightly crossing each around the bottom of the foot loop by one-quarter to one-half inch.

Secure the pre-wrap to your ankle by placing two circular strips of individually cut athletic tape around your lower leg, six inches above your ankle bone. These two pieces of circular athletic tape will also create an anchoring point for the pieces of athletic tape that will be used on your ankle. This is due to the rough, sticky texture of the tape.

Wrap a “U” shaped piece of athletic tape from the anchor point, around the bottom of your foot, to the other anchor point. You should start on the left side of your leg and finish on the right side of your leg.

Apply a second and third “U” strip in the same fashion, but make sure each “U” strip is offset. The second strip should be placed one-half inch to the left of the center of the first strip, while the third strip should be placed one-half inch to the right of the center of the first strip.

Place two more circular strips around your leg, six inches above your ankle bone. This will secure the “U” shaped pieces of tape in place at the anchor point site.

Create a cross loop with the athletic tape to secure the bottom of the pre-wrap by making one full loop with the tape at the bottom of the foot and then wrapping it just around the bend of the foot and just below the ankle bone.

Pull the tape from under your foot to the medial, or inside, portion of your lower leg, just above your ankle bone.

Pull the tape from the medial side of your leg around the lateral, or outer, side of your leg, and then back under your foot.

Pull the tape from under your foot to over the top of your foot toward your heel.

Wrap the tape around the bottom of your heel.

Pull the tape upward from your heel and wrap a circular loop around the bottom portion of your leg where your shin is located. Make sure you overlap the circular loop by two inches.

Detach this long tape piece from the roll to secure your ankle.


You may need to use scissors to cut the athletic training tape if you can not easily pull the tape away from the roll. The steps for creating the cross loop can be quite tricky -- think of it as creating a triangle around your foot.


Taping your ankle on your own should be done at your own risk. If you have an ankle condition or medical advisement to tape your ankle before playing football, get a trained professional to do it. Do not the ankle too tightly. Taping too tight can cut off circulation to the foot.