How to KT Tape an Ankle For Support and Stability

8 Min Read

Clean your lower leg, ankle and foot with sanitizer or wet wipes. Once you’re done, cut three strips of KT tape. Cut around their edges to make them round; this way, they won’t peel off later.

Now stick the first piece of tape to both sides of your lower shin and under the midfoot. Wrap the second one around your midfoot, the third – around the thin part of your shin. You’ve now successfully taped your ankle.

For this article, we worked with Dr. Enes: a sports doctor and osteopath. She showed us how to KT tape an ankle in 3 different ways.

The first is best for immobilizing a sprained ankle. The other 2 methods give you more mobility while still supporting the joint and keeping it in place.

In addition to the 3 methods, we’ll cover 5 reasons to use KT tape, signs you need to see a doctor and more. Keep reading to learn more!

Disclaimer: This guide was created for educational purposes. It neither offers nor replaces medical advice. Learn more here.

Shoethority is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn a small commission. Learn more.

Table of Contents

How to KT Tape an Ankle Sprain: Maximum Support

This method will keep your ankle stable. It reduces mobility a little but prevents injury. If you want a preventative tape for extra ankle support, use the other method.

1

Cut Your KT Tape

Cut or tear 3 pieces of KT tape. The first needs to go from around ankle to under the foot.

Cut or tear 3 pieces of KT tape. The first needs to go from around ankle to under the foot.

The third needs to go under and over the midfoot, also with some length to spare.

2

Trim Around the Edges

KT tape often peels off at the edges. By taking a minute to trim them so they’re circular, you’ll improve fixation strength. You’ll also make the tape last longer.

3

Clean Your Ankle

Take a minute to clean your ankle. Use sanitizer or wet wipes. 

Removing dust, skin and other particles will help it stabilize the ankle longer.

4

Tape Your Mid-Foot and Lower Leg

Take your first piece of tape. Stick it under the midfoot, i.e. where your medial arch is.

Now carefully attach it to the ankle and the lower leg. It should be symmetrical on both sides.

Use your hands and fingers to smooth it out, then rub until it’s firm on the foot.

5

Tape Around Your Mid-Foot

Now let’s go for the second piece of tape. Stick it under your midfoot, just like you did the first piece.

Only this time, go around the ankle rather than up the foot. Do one side first and smooth it out with your hands and fingers…

Then do the other side of the tape over the first one in a criss-cross pattern.

Once you’re done, smooth and rub the tape over the foot. You should end up with something like this.

6

Tape Around the Achilles

Get your last piece of tape out. Stick the middle of it where your Achilles tendon and fibula bone are.

Now bring one side around the lower leg, stick it there and smooth it out with fingers and hands…

Then do the other side.

7

Check the Tape is Fixed Firmly

Probe the tape for slackness or any loose bits. If you find any massage the tape over the foot until it’s firm all over.

8

You’ve KT Taped Your Sprained Ankle Successfully!

That’s it! Your foot should now look something like this.

How to KT Tape an Ankle: Moderate Support

This method is almost as supportive as the one above. It’ll keep the ankle joint in place, although with a little less force.

The upside is that this method gives you a lot more mobility. It doesn’t immobilize the foot as much and it allows for ankle dorsiflexion.

1

Cut or Tear 2 Pieces of KT Ankle Tape

The first piece will go from the bottom of your calf muscle, under your foot and to the toes. Cut or tear accordingly.

The second piece will go around the midfoot. It needs to have some length to spare.

2

Trim and Cut Your KT Tape

First, cut around the edges of your KT tape on one side. This’ll stop it from getting unglued and help it work longer.

Now take the strip of tape that’ll go under your foot. Cut the side you didn’t trim into three equal strips. Go halfway down the KT tape strip.

3

Sanitize the Foot and Ankle

Wash or clean the foot and ankle. Use wet wipes or sanitizer. Wait for the skin to dry.

4

Glue the First Piece of Tape On

Take the piece of tape that goes under your calf muscle. Anchor the part that’s whole to the bottom of your foot and behind your heel.

Then rub your hands and fingers along the KT tape to make sure it’s stuck.

Once you’re done, glue the three strips under your foot. Trim any excess length and massage the tape into the foot so it sticks.

5

Glue the Second Piece of Tape On

Stick the middle of the second piece of tape between the ball and arch of your foot.

Now bring it around the ankle, wrap it around itself and massage until it’s firmly stuck.

6

You’re Done

That’s it! Your ankle is now stable but mobile. It should look something like this.

How to Kinesio Tape an Ankle: Maximum Mobility

This is a different way to KT tape your ankle. It gives you a lot more mobility.

The downside is that it’s less supportive. It doesn’t connect the ankle to the heel or fibula.

Dr. Enes likes to use this method for healthy athletes who want moderate ankle support.

1

Cut or Tear 2 Pieces of KT Ankle Tape

This time, we’ll need two lengths of tape.

Each one will go from the thickest point of the calf to the ankle, so that’s how long they need to be.

2

Trim and Cut Out Your Tape

On one side of each piece of tape, cut around the edges so they’re round.

On the other side, cut the tape and divide it into five equal-thickness strips.

You should end up with something that looks like this.

3

Clean and Sanitize Your Lower Leg

Use wet wipes and/or sanitizer to clean the area between your knee and ankle. Go down the leg and go over each side as well.

4

Tape On the First KT Strip

Anchor the uncut part of the strip to the inside of your tibia. That’ll look something like this.

Now take the strip of tape that’s closest to the outside of your foot. Glue it to the lower leg at an angle, like this.

Once you’ve done the first one, glue each one a little further away from it. The last one will end up on your foot, around your long toe. The whole construction will look a bit like a 5-arm octopus.

5

Tape On the Second KT Strip

Take the second piece of strip and anchor it to the outside of your tibia. Then glue the piece of strip closest to the inside of your foot across your lower leg.

Now keep going, sticking each successive strip of KT tape a few cm away from the previous one.

Once you’re done, you’ll have a criss-cross pattern of 5 thin strips on each side.

6

You’ve KT Taped Your Ankle for Mobility!

Good job! Your foot should look like this now.

5 Reasons to use KT Tape on an Ankle Sprain

1 - Keeps the Joint in its Natural Range of Motion

Under heavy impact, the ankle can hyperextend beyond its natural range of motion. This results in sprains and other injuries (e.g. tears).

KT tape stops this from happening. Depending on the wrapping technique you use, it provides rigid or flexible joint support.

2 - Prevents Re-Injury

Sprained ankle ligaments can’t support the joint the way they need to. This makes re-injury likely. For example, if you rolled an ankle you’re likely to roll it again.

KT tape prevents this. By keeping the joint in its natural range of motion (see above), it reduces the risk or re-injury.

3 - Prevents Injury

If your ankle’s going to be under a lot of stress, you could end up with an injury. Applying KT tape ahead of time will minimize the risk of injury.

This is a good way to protect the ankle after a long break from a sport. It’s also helpful if you’re playing sports on a slippery surface.

4 - Supports the Joints and Ligaments

Let’s say you’re getting back to sports after an injury. Your joints and ligaments are healthy, but you haven’t practiced in a while. You’re not sure your ankle can handle the stress.

KT taping your ankle will support the joint and soft tissues. It will reduce the amount of work they need to do. This will help you build strength back up gradually.

Additionally, we always recommend choosing footwear for ankle support and weak ankles. These shoes will help you alleviate pain and discomfort.

5 - Increase Blood and Lymphatic Flow

It’s hypothesized that kinesio tape lifts skin from the muscle under it. This increases blood and lymphatic flow, potentially increasing the speed at which you heel. Compression socks work in a similar way, as they support the leg muscles, improve blood circulation, and normalize blood pressure.

5 Signs of a Sprained Ankle

If you have the following symptoms, you may have a sprained ankle:

  1. Swelling
  2. Pain when you move the foot or put weight on it
  3. Pain or discomfort when you touch the affected area
  4. A bruise
  5. Limited range of motion when moving the foot

What to Do if I Have a Sprained Ankle?

If you’ve got a sprain, Dr. Enes’ advice is to stop what you’re doing. Don’t just KT wrap the ankle and keep hiking, playing sports, etc. Let your body rest as much as possible. When it comes to hiking, make sure you know how your hiking boots should fit. The truth is that by wearing unsuitable footwear, you could be making your sprained ankle worse.

See a doctor if you experience:

  • A tearing or popping sound during the injury
  • Complete inability to move the ankle without pain
  • Pain and swelling that don’t subside 12-24 hours after the injury
  • Inability to put weight on the ankle 12-24 hours after the injury

If your intuition tells you something is wrong, see a doctor immediately. They’ll tell you how serious the injury is.

Writer:

George P.H.

Co-Writer:

Dr. Katherine Enes

Last Updated:

April 30, 2022

George P.H.

George is the founder of Shoethority. He started testing and studying shoes after a series of sports injuries. He now shares his knowledge with Shoethority readers as a writer, tester and editor. 

Dr. Katherine Enes

Dr. Enes is a doctor (M.D.) specializing in physical therapy, osteopathy and sports medicine. As a working doctor, she helps patients rehab and improves athletes’ biomechanics.

Dr. Enes is also a sports enthusiast. She’s tried capoeira, Crossfit, Swedish walking and more. Her main sports are general fitness and walking. 

As a writer for Shoethority, Dr. Enes covers biomechanics, injury recovery, injury prevention and more.