How To Tape Your Ankle for Basketball

If you are bouncing back from an ankle injury, and ready to hit the court then applying Athletic tape, as well as making sure you have on of the best basketball shoes for ankle support, will helpful protect your injury. 

Applying the tape correctly, though, is crucial to your safety and comfort. We’ve lined up a few pointers on how to tape your ankle for basketball so you can get back in the game!

Athletic tape is a general term. While it historically described standard tape used by athletic trainers and medical professionals, today, people use the term “athletic tape” to describe various tape types. However, not all athletic tapes are identical. Each has different advantages and drawbacks as well as application methods and use guidelines.

Choosing the Right Tape

The most suitable tape for you depends on your situation and needs. Are you looking for superior support or light stabilization?

Suppose you recently experienced an ankle sprain or similar issue and are worried about damaging the joint. In that case, athletic tape might be a better choice. Athletic tape limits your range of motion, protecting you from further hurting or irritating the healing muscles and tendons. Remember, you should only wear athletic tape for a short period as it isn’t waterproof and can cause irritation.

On the other hand, if you want to help speed recovery and achieve light stabilization, KT tape can help. It doesn’t immobilize the joint but provides just enough support to encourage the muscles and tendons into proper form. Its ability to slightly lift the skin helps with circulation. This slight separation can reduce pain and boost healing. Waterproof and breathable, you can wear it for an entire weekend’s worth of basketball playoff games. 

> Traditional Athletic Tape

This tape is what you will find in almost every athletic trainer’s bag. It’s relatively stiff, strong, and isn’t very flexible. If a basketball player or athlete is sporting white tape, it is probably classic athletic tape.

Athletic tape is usually worn after an injury to support and protect the area. Post-injury use is typical because its inflexibility limits joint movement. The construction of athletic tape is quite interesting. Its properties make it breathable but also malleable. The tape can conform with prolonged wear and heat from your body, similar to a cast.

You can apply your own athletic tape, but medical professionals or athletic trainers apply it more commonly. It isn’t made for long-term use and should be removed shortly after you’re done playing.

> Kinesio Tape.

Kinesiotape, or KT tape, offers less support and is more widely used for recovery and correction. It is very stretchy and breathable. Often found in many colors, athletes turn to KT tape during activities and training. 

Kinesiotape comes in strips. These strips must be laid down in differing directions instead of wrapped. When applied correctly, it helps to provide light stabilization while also retraining the muscle and joint, encouraging proper form. Other benefits of KT tape include:

  • •  Compression for reduced swelling
  • •  Better circulation of fluids and blood to promote healing
  • •  Occasionally faster recovery

KT taping is more complicated, but most people can do it on their own at home. Another advantage is that you can leave it on for four to five days!

Though many types are available for ankle taping, most basketball players will usually choose Kinesiotape or athletic tape.


How To Tape Your Ankle for Basketball

First, decide if you are using athletic tape or KT tape. Then, follow these steps.

Athletic Taping Procedure

  • •  Apply pre-wrap from the ball of the foot to three inches above your ankle on your calf
  • •  Starting a few inches above the ankle, apply one strip of tape circularly around the joint. Don’t make it too tight.
  • •  From one side of the anchor, secure a long tape piece under your heel and up the other side of your leg, ending on the opposite side of the anchor from where you started. This “U” shape is called the stirrup.
  • •  From the back of your heel, wrap a section around the perimeter of your foot to the base of your toes. It should lie perpendicular to your stirrup section.
  • •  You can repeat these steps as necessary to further immobilize the joint. This is called the “second wave” of tapping.
  • •  Once complete, overwrap the area using an additional layer or two of tape. Start near the ball of your foot and wrap in a circular crisscrossing motion until you reach the anchor, avoiding the heel.

KT Taping Procedure

  • •  Using one strip, make a stirrup. Start four inches or so above your ankle on the side of the leg. Attach one end of the tape, then stretch it lightly as you wrap it down the inside of your ankle joint, under your heel, and back up the other side of your lower leg.
  • •  Wrap a horizontal piece of tape around the ankle joint and upper heel, about where your Achilles tendon is.
  • •  Start on the inside of your foot, just behind the ball. Attaching one anchor point to your arch, stretch the tape lightly as you pull it around the back of your heel and attach it to your outer foot on the other side. This piece should be at a 90-degree angle to your stirrup section.
  • •  You can add an “X” formation for increased support. Attach the middle of one tape section under your arch. Stretch it lightly as you pull both ends up toward your ankle, crossing them where the top of your foot meets the joint, so they form an “X” on your lower leg. Depending on the length of your tape, secure the ends on the side of your calf or the back of your leg.


Whether you want to prevent reinjury or reduce irritation, taping your ankle can help. Be sure to choose the correct tape and apply it correctly to decrease irritation and maximize support.

The next article will take a look at ways to strengthen your ankle for basketball to help prevent as many injuries as possible. You will find that the set of exercise we suggest will help you with balance and stability – two very important areas to improve.


Written by Mark

Having researched and advised on hundreds of footwear products, I'm confident you'll find my articles insightful to the most common questions that's currently being asked online.

March 6, 2022

Ankle Support

More Basketball Shoe Questions …

How To Prevent Ankle Rolling in Basketball

How To Prevent Ankle Rolling in Basketball

Preventative measures often include increasing the support and stabilization of the joint, and we talk through some of the best ways to achieve that in this article.

How to Strengthen Your Ankles for Basketball

How to Strengthen Your Ankles for Basketball

To strengthen your ankle for basketball, movements like ankle pumps or jumping rope can help while balancing activities such as lunges and squats, assist with stability – as we discuss here.

Do Low Top Basketball Shoes Have Ankle Support?

Do Low Top Basketball Shoes Have Ankle Support?

Once thought of as a riskier footwear option than their high-top counterparts, science may be proving that theory wrong. Studies haven’t found a correlation between ankle injuries and low-top shoes.