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Ankle Brace vs. Ankle Tape: Which Is Best For You?

Ankle Brace vs. Ankle Tape: Which Is Best For You?
Shweta Chaubey

The taping vs bracing debate has been going on for a while now. Ankle taping and bracing are popular treatment options for ankle injuries such as sprains and tendonitis. Ankle sprains often involve partial or complete tearing of ligaments. These can cause discomfort and a slew of other problems, sometimes even afterthey have healed.

Many doctors prefer bracing or taping an ankle for support. It is an almost 60-year-old practice. Taping or bracing the ankle following an injury helps keep the ankle stable. But what is ankle taping and bracing? How is it done? And most importantly, which is best?

What is Ankle Taping?

Ankle taping is a common procedure used in sports and rehabilitation. It provides support and stability to the ankle joint. Taping involves applying adhesive tape to the ankle and foot in a way that limits excessive movement, prevents injury, and aids in healing.

What is Ankle Bracing?

Ankle bracing involves using a supportive device like a brace or splint. Ankle bracing limits excessive ankle movement supports weakened or injured ligaments, and reduces the risk of ankle sprains or other related injuries.

Studies have found taping and bracing effectively heal ankle injuries by reducing range of motion which further prevents the risk of injury. Experts suggest that wearing high-top shoes and taping led to more than 50% fewer injuries.

Ankle Taping vs Bracing: Which is better?

Studies have found braces slightly more effective than taping. Ankle taping is a time-intensive procedure, and it may take a few minutes to tape your ankle. Additionally, it may take a few attempts to get it right.

Ankle tape can reinforce the ankle, but ankle braces are more rigid and thicker and offer better support and protection. Ankle braces have prefabricated sleeves with adjustable straps that emulate the benefits of ankle tape. Subsequently, an ankle brace stays in place even during physical activity, which makes it a better option for supporting an ankle.

Now that we have arrived at a conclusion let’s talk about how to brace or tape an ankle.


How to tape an ankle

For ankle taping, you will need -

  • Kinesiology tape or athletic tape
  • Pre-wrap or under wrap
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive or elastic wrap


Step 1: Prepare the ankle

  • Clean and dry your ankle
  • Apply the under wrap for extra comfort

Step 2: Anchor the tape

  • Place one end of the tape on the inside of the lower leg, a few inches above the ankle bone.
  • Wrap the tape around the leg and overlap it to secure in place.
  • Apply it a second time around the foot or the arch, just behind the ball of the foot.

Step 3: Apply stirrups

  • Take a strip of tape and place one end on the inside the foot, just behind the big toe.
  • Bring the tape diagonally across the foot, underneath the arch, crossing over the ankle bone, and wrap it around the outside of the foot.
  • Repeat this process wrapping each side of the ankle two to three times.

Step 4: Create a figure-eight

  • Take a long strip of tape and start on the inside of the ankle.
  • Bring the tape diagonally across the foot, crossing over the top of the foot, and wrap it around the back of the leg.
  • Continue this figure-eight pattern, alternating between crossing over the top and the bottom of the foot until you reach the desired amount of support.
  • Repeat the figure-eight pattern with additional strips, overlapping the tape slightly for added stability.

Step 5: Secure and finish

  • Finish the taping by wrapping an adhesive or elastic wrap over the entire ankle. This wrap should be snug but not too tight to allow proper circulation.
  • Ensure the tape is smooth and free of wrinkles or creases that could cause discomfort or irritation.

Remember to tape and monitor the ankle during physical activity. Adjust the ankle tape if it feels too loose or tight. Please note that the following instructions are for general ankle taping. For more specific guidance, consult your healthcare professional.

How to Wrap Ankle Brace

To wear an ankle brace -

1. Rest

Before applying the brace, make sure your ankle is relaxed and elevated to reduce swelling. This will make the bracing more comfortable and effective.

2. Prepare the Ankle

  • Make sure the ankle is clean and dry.
  • You can also use pre-wrap or under-wrap for better protection and extra comfort.

3. Put on the brace

  • Lace-Up Brace

    • If using a lace-up brace, loosen the laces completely before placing your foot into the brace.
    • Slide your foot into the brace and tighten the laces gradually, starting from the bottom and working your way up.
    • Secure the laces by tying them or using any closure mechanism provided with the brace.
  • Strap-Style Brace

    • Wrap the brace around the ankle. Make sure the support straps are correctly positioned.
    • Adjust the straps for a snug fit, ensuring the brace provides stability without being too tight.
  • Rigid Brace

    • If using a rigid brace, position the brace around the ankle and foot, ensuring it covers the affected area.
    • Secure any closures or straps to hold the brace in place.

4. Check for Proper Fit

  • Once the brace is on, check the fit.
  • It should feel snug but not too tight, allowing for comfortable movement and blood flow.

It's important to note these steps only provide general guidelines. Your doctor may prescribe a more elaborate method to address your issue.

How to find the best ankle brace for sprains

Ankle braces come in various forms, including lace-up, strap-style, and rigid or semi-rigid braces. Which one would suit your needs best will depend on the purpose of the brace and the recommendation of your doctor.

For instance, if you are looking for a brace for an ankle sprain consider going with an ankle compression sleeves. These offer graduated compression to the targeted area and allow the ankle to move freely. Similarly, if you are looking for a foot brace for a stress fracture, look for a rigid brace made with hard plastic and Velcro straps. Rigid braces limit movement and let the ankle heal properly.

Where to buy ankle brace and tape

HPFY has been your health and wellness partner since 2002. We carry a wide range of rehab and orthopedic supplies including ankle braces and KT tapes for sprained ankles. Explore our catalog today and find the one that suits your needs the best.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Shweta Chaubey

Shweta Chaubey

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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...

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