Applying a compression wrap for a sprained ankle

Picture of how to apply a compression wrap for an ankle sprain

A compression wrap is used to prevent swelling. It does not support the ankle or prevent it from moving, so it does not protect it except by reminding you to be careful of your ankle.

Instructions

  1. Roll up the elastic bandage if it isn't already rolled up. Hold your ankle at about a 90-degree angle. Start where your toes meet the body of your foot. Hold the loose end of the bandage at the side of your foot. Wrap the bandage around the ball of your foot once, keeping it somewhat taut with a light pull.
  2. After this, slowly start circling your way around the arch of the foot. Pull the bandage diagonally from the bottom of the toes across the foot's top and circle it around the ankle. Now bring the bandage diagonally across the top of the foot and under the arch in a figure-eight pattern.
  3. When you get to the anklebone, wrap the bandage around the felt piece so it stays in place at the outside anklebone. Continue around the ankle and foot in a figure eight, moving toward the heel on the bottom and toward the calf at the top of the eight.
  4. The wrap should cover the entire foot (but not the heel) and end several inches above the ankle. Most compression wraps are self-fastening or come with clip fasteners. If not, use tape to secure the end. The wrap should be snug but should not cut off circulation to the foot.

Last Updated: December 31, 2009

Author: Jeannette Curtis

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma

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