Ankle Taping for sprained ankle injury part 2 - heel locks and figure of 8 locks

Updated: Feb 4, 2021


The basic stirrup strips provide minimal fundamental support to your ankle; you can use them for light/moderate activities and rehabilitation exercises or if you are new to taping. If you need to participate in more vigorous sports that demand more stability in your ankle, you may need extra support by:


  1. Adding horizontal strips

  2. Adding heel locks

  3. Adding figure of 8 locks

The below guidelines are methods of adding more sports tapes to support the injured ankle. Depending on the stage/severity of the injury, your body characteristics, and the sports you are participating in, you can modify the taping method. The idea is to use the least amount of tape to provide the necessary support and allow you to perform the sports you intend to do. Always know the purpose of why you need to tape.


You can consider a lighter thin flex stretch athletic tape for the heel locks and figure of 8 locks if you find the traditional rigid sports tape too heavy. If you have only the conventional athletic tapes, it is fine to proceed with them.


Size: 3.75 cm/1.5 inches

Apply the tape smoothly without any crease to prevent forming blisters.


This article is not intended to replace medical advice. Seek professional help if you encounter any problem during ankle taping.


Recapping basic stirrup strips method:

  1. Position ankle at 90.

  2. Place lubricated gauze pads on the front of the ankle and behind the heel.

  3. Wrap the foot and the lower 1/3 shin with underwrap (pink).

  4. Secure the underwrap with anchor strips (white).

  5. Start the first strip from the *inside of the ankle (behind the medial malleolus) for inversion sprained. Go under the heel and up to the outside of the ankle (the strips should cover about 1/3 lower shin). Continue until the last strip is well in front of the malleoli (about 3-4 strips). *For eversion sprained, Start the first strip from the outside of the ankle (behind the lateral malleolus). Go under the heel and up to the inside of the ankle.

  6. Proceed to add horizontal strips around the ankle.

Sprained ankle taping, basic stirrup strips method

Recapping basic stirrup strips


Adding horizontal strips around the ankle:

  1. Start the first strip from the (lateral) outside of the ankle (cover 1/2 of anchor strips).

  2. Take the tape behind the Achilles tendon to the inner foot.

  3. Tear off and attached to cover 1/2 of the anchor strip on the ankle's medial side (inside).

  4. Repeat 3 -4 times until you cover both malleoli (ankle bone).

  5. These "horseshoes" like strips provide some support to the foot's long arch.

  6. Proceed to the heel locks.


Ankle taping for sprained ankle: horizontal strips

Procedures for putting the 1st heel lock to support the ankle joint:


  1. Start the 1st heel lock on the top of the foot (closer to the outside). For novice tapers, start the tape at the foot's sole (this method provides less support but is easier to adjust the angle of the tape).

  2. Take the tape under the foot to the outside of the foot.

  3. Cross the lateral side (outside) of the heel at a 45-degrees angle.

  4. Go around the Achilles tendon, passing through the medial malleolus (inside ankle bone).

  5. Go around the lower leg again.

  6. Tear off the tape and secure to the lateral (outside) leg.

Ankle taping for sprained ankle: 1st heel lock

Procedures for putting the 2nd heel lock to support the ankle joint:

  1. Repeat the above procedures in the opposite direction.

  2. Start the 2nd heel lock on the instep of the foot. For novice tapers, start the tape at the foot's sole (this method provides less support but is easier to adjust the angle of the tape).

  3. Take the tape under the foot to the inner side of the sole.

  4. Cross the inner side of the heel at a 45-degrees angle.

  5. Go around the Achilles tendon, passing through the lateral malleolus (outside ankle bone).

  6. Go around the lower leg again.

  7. Tear off the tape and secure at the lateral (outside) leg.

  8. ONLY if you don't need the figure of 8 locks: Apply cover strips (similar to anchor strips) and cover any hole (area that you notice the underwrap) with tape. ** If you are going to apply the figure of 8 locks skip "step 8".


Ankle taping for sprained ankle: 2nd heel lock

Optional: If you need even more support for the ankle joint, add the figure of 8 locks on top of the heel lock. It is not mandatory; you can skip this if you have enough support with the heel locks.


Procedures for putting the figure of 8 locks to support the ankle joint:


Half figure of 8 ankle locks:

  1. Start on the lateral aspect (outside) of the leg.

  2. Cross over the instep on top of the foot.

  3. Go under the foot.

  4. Come up from the lateral part (outside) of the leg again.

  5. Cross the top of the foot and attach to the medial aspect (inside) of the leg.

  6. It looks like an "X" on top of the ankle.

  7. Apply 2-3 of this depends on your foot's size down the foot, each covering 1/2 of the previous tape.

  8. Apply cover strips (similar to anchor strips) to the top and bottom of the tapes.

  9. Cover any hole (area that you notice the underwrap) with tape.

Full figure of 8 ankle lock:

Optional choice for extra security and can be made by having the tape completely circle the lower leg.


Ankle taping for sprained ankle: figure of 8 locks

Ankle taping for sprained ankle: cover strips

Check your taping:

  1. Press the big toe until it turns pale, release, and blood flow should return straight away.

  2. Check for any numbness or tingling sensation.

  3. Run, jump, or do some sports-specific movement; the tape should support your ankle without limiting your functional motion.

If the tapes are too tight and prevent circulation or make you feel uncomfortable. Cut it off with bandage scissors and redo the taping. Ask for help from a sports therapist if you have any doubt.


Sports tapes can support your ankle, but it is best to properly manage your injury and do some balance/proprioception training to your ankle.


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