Why do we tape feet and ankles?

Taping is a way to quickly add temporary support to your feet or ankles.

This level of support can be recreated more permanently with braces, foot orthoses or modifications to footwear, so often taping is used as a test to see if this change will help your condition.

Sometimes, taping can’t be recreated easily, or is the more desirable way of adding support. For example, taping your ankle or toe before sport can be a more comfortable than a brace. Or it’s difficult to fit a brace on your leg due to the type of boot or other equipment you’re already wearing. This is really common in change of direction sports like rugby, soccer and AFL.

Whatever the reason, these videos below will show you the common ways I tape people’s feet in the clinic and guide you on how to reapply the tape, either as a primary support, or for a prolonged trial to see if you’d benefit from a permanent support.

Are there downsides to taping? Anything you should know before doing it?

The major downside to taping is that it may not be effective, or in some rare cases, cause more discomfort. If that’s the case, I instruct people to remove the tape and stopping taping their feet. When we’re testing to see if a support is helpful, this isn’t a failure, but a result that provides more information about your condition that can help guide further treatment.

While uncommon, some people already have, or with prolonged taping, will develop, an allergy to the tape itself. Often this will be skin going red, hot and swollen, the area could be itchy or really uncomfortable. If you get any of these signs, stop taping, wash your skin with a neutral detergent and if it doesn’t reduce within 24 hours, seek medical care.

This is the major downside to prolonged taping and why if you need support in the long term, we swap to more permanent supports such as orthotics or bracing.

Despite suffering an allergy, some people will still continue to tape their feet or ankles using an ‘underwrap’. This is a hypoallergenic tape placed on the foot/ankle first, to act as a barrier so the sports tape doesn’t come into contact with the skin. This isn’t 100% effective and it’s up to every person to decide whether they decide to continue taping with an underwrap despite an allergy.

Taping yourself, or getting help from a friend?

Having someone else tape your feet or ankle is definitely a lot easier. Sports clubs often have a team of staff present at matches and training to do just this for all the players. Not having someone assist is one of the biggest reasons people don’t keep taping their own feet.

Taping your own feet and ankles can be difficult, but not impossible. In the videos, I discuss how you can do taping on yourself and some modifications you can do if you don’t have assistance.

Watch the videos

Taping your foot

This is a simple taping technique designed to add more support to your foot and ankle, similar to an orthotic.

Taping your ankle

This is an ankle taping technique commonly used to add stability to the ankle.

Taping for plantar plate injuries

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This is a page to assist people who’ve seen me in the clinic and need a guide on how to tape their feet.

This is not medical advice and shouldn’t be taken as such. If you have a foot and ankle condition and are looking for help, please see a medical or allied health provider that can provide you with specific advice for your condition.

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