Image of an ankle strapped with athletic tape

9 Useful Steps For Choosing An Athletic Tape For Ankle Injuries

In this article we will suggest a 9 step process to choose an athletic tape for ankle injuries. We will then go on to consider some of the types of athletic tape on the market best suited for these types of injuries and how to choose among them when dealing with a particular injury.


Ankle injuries are among the most frequently experienced types of injuries in sports. There are a few reasons for this.

First, the ankle is a weight bearing joint and this role places pressures on it that are not shared by, say, the wrists, shoulders or elbow. Second, in many sports the athlete is required to make sharp changes in direction or speed of movement. These changes place significant stresses on the ankle ligaments, as the joint plays a critical role in changes of direction, especially when moving at a high speed.

As a result, many athletes in these sports (such as football or basketball) tend to suffer from ankle sprains due to torn ankle ligaments. These injuries can result in prolonged recovery periods during which the athlete cannot play or practise as he or she normally would.

For these reasons, there is a need for athletic tape that can either prevent or treat ankle injuries involving damaged or torn ligaments. In the next section, we will outline how you can go about choosing an athletic tape for these purposes.

How To Choose An Athletic Tape For Ankle Injuries

Choosing the right athletic tape for ankle injuries involves considering several factors to ensure proper support and protection. Here are the steps to follow:

Consult a healthcare professional

Before selecting athletic tape for an ankle injury, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional such as a sports doctor, physical therapist, or athletic trainer. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend the appropriate type of tape and application technique based on your specific injury.

Identify the purpose

Determine the specific purpose of the tape application. Is it for injury prevention, support during physical activity, pain relief, or stabilization during recovery? Different types of athletic tapes serve different purposes, so understanding your specific needs will help you make the right choice.

Understand the types of athletic tape available

There are various types of athletic tapes designed for different applications. The most common ones include rigid tape, elastic tape, and kinesiology tape. Learn about the characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks of each type to understand which one would be most suitable for your ankle injury. In the next section, we discuss these three types of athletic tape and which types of ankle injury are best treated by each type of tape.

Consider the level of support required

Evaluate the level of support your ankle requires. If you have a severe injury or need significant stability, a rigid or non-elastic tape might be suitable. For mild to moderate support or increased flexibility, elastic or kinesiology tape may be more appropriate.

Assess your skin sensitivity

Take into account your skin’s sensitivity when selecting athletic tape. If you have sensitive or easily irritated skin, consider tapes with hypoallergenic properties or those specifically designed for sensitive skin. Test a small patch on your skin before applying the tape to ensure there are no adverse reactions.

Learn proper application techniques

Understand the proper techniques for applying the chosen tape. Different tapes have specific application methods that affect their effectiveness. Consult with your healthcare professional or seek reliable instructional resources to learn how to apply the tape correctly for optimal results.

Consider the duration of use

Determine how long you’ll need to use the athletic tape. Some tapes are designed for short-term use, such as during an activity, while others can be worn for longer durations, including during recovery. Consider the tape’s durability and how well it holds up over time.

Read reviews and seek recommendations

Research and read reviews from other individuals who have used the tape you are considering. Pay attention to their experiences, especially those with similar knee injuries, to gather insights on its effectiveness, comfort, and durability.

Trial and error:

While it’s essential to gather information and recommendations, finding the right athletic tape may require some trial and error. Start with a small quantity or sample packs before investing in larger quantities to test the tape’s performance and suitability for your ankle injury.

Remember, the guidance of a healthcare professional is crucial throughout the process. They can provide personalized advice based on your injury, recovery progress, and individual needs.

Types Of Athletic Tape For Ankle Applications

Although we have recommended following a 9 step process for choosing an athletic tape for ankle injury treatment, there are some general comments we can make about the types of tape best suited for certain knee injuries.

In what follows, we compare and contrast the characteristics of three key types of athletic tape – rigid tape, elastic tape and kinesiology tape. We also suggest the types of ankle injuries best suited for treatment using each of these types of athletic tape.

Close up image of a physiotherapist applying zinc oxide (rigid) tape to a patient's ankle. In certain situations, using a rigid athletic tape for ankle injuries is the right choice.
A physiotherapist applies zinc oxide (rigid) tape to a patient’s ankle.

Rigid Tape

  1. Characteristics: Rigid tape, also known as non-elastic or athletic tape, is made of stiff, non-stretchable fabric such as cotton or rayon. It has a strong adhesive backing and provides excellent stability and support to the joints.
  2. Usage: Rigid tape is commonly used for immobilization and restricting joint movement. It offers maximum support and is suitable for acute injuries, such as ligament sprains, fractures, or dislocations, where immobilization is necessary.
  3. Ankle Injuries: Rigid tape is best suited for severe ankle injuries, such as high ankle sprains, ligament tears, or unstable ankle joints. It can help restrict motion and provide stability during the healing process.

Elastic Tape

  1. Characteristics: Elastic tape, also known as elastic adhesive bandage or cohesive bandage, is made of stretchable fabric with an adhesive surface that sticks to itself. It offers moderate support and allows some flexibility and movement.
  2. Usage: Elastic tape is commonly used for compression, support, and pain relief. It provides a snug fit and can be wrapped around joints or muscles to offer compression and promote blood flow while still allowing some range of motion.
  3. Ankle Injuries: Elastic tape is suitable for mild to moderate ankle injuries, such as sprains, strains, or tendonitis. It can provide support, reduce swelling, and improve stability without overly restricting movement.

Kinesiology Tape

Close up image of a physiotherapist's hands applying kinesiology tape to a patient's ankle. This is one example of an athletic tape for ankle injuries.
A physiotherapist applies kinesiology tape to a patient’s ankle. This is one example of an athletic tape for ankle injuries.
  1. Characteristics: Kinesiology tape, also known as therapeutic tape or sports tape, is made of stretchable and breathable fabric with a wave-like adhesive pattern. It mimics the elasticity of human skin and allows for a full range of motion.
  2. Usage: Kinesiology tape is primarily used for muscle support, pain relief, and enhancing proprioception (awareness of body position). It provides a gentle lift to the skin, promoting better circulation and lymphatic flow while allowing natural movement.
  3. Ankle Injuries: Kinesiology tape is suitable for a wide range of ankle injuries, including ligament sprains, tendonitis, muscle strains, and general ankle instability. It can help relieve pain, reduce swelling, support the muscles, and improve joint proprioception during both athletic activities and everyday movements.


In this article, we have presented a 9 step process for selecting an athletic tape for ankle injury treatment. We then suggested the types of ankle injury that are generally speaking best suited for each type of knee injury.

It’s important to note that the choice of tape ultimately depends on the severity and nature of the ankle injury, personal preference, and guidance from a healthcare professional. They can provide specific recommendations tailored to your individual needs.

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