Achilles tendon injuries can be very painful and severely limit your mobility. Fortunately, there’s a solution. Taping your Achilles tendon is a simple and effective way to protect your tendon from further damage, and at the same time. This article will teach you step by step how to tape your Achilles tendon like a pro!
Materials You Will Need
The first step in taping your Achilles tendon is to gather everything you’ll need. Be sure to have the following materials:
- Clean feet
- Achilles tape
- Tape scissors
- Pre-wrap or underwrap
- Ice (“if needed”)
Step 1: Clean Your Feet
The first step is to clean your feet with soap and water, then dry them thoroughly. Achilles tape adheres better when applied to clean, dry skin.
Step 2: Apply Pre-wrap or Underwrap
Next, apply pre-wrap or underwrap up to six inches above your Achilles tendon. This will help protect your skin from the tape and reduce any irritation or discomfort.
Step 3: Measure the Tape
Use scissors to measure the appropriate length of tape you’ll need. The length of the tape will depend on the size of your foot and the thickness of your Achilles tendon. Cut the tendon tape to the appropriate size.
Step 4: Vertical Anchor Strip
Begin by attaching one end of the Achilles tape just above your heel. Make sure the tape is placed vertically along your Achilles tendon. Proceed to anchor the tape at the end by stretching it fully, horizontally across your foot under your toes.
Step 5: Horizontal Anchor Strip
The next step is to attach another piece of tape horizontally over the first tape that you placed. The tape should go all the way around your leg, just above the heel. This strip will keep the first strip in place.
Step 6: Horizontal Stirrup Tape
The next step is to apply a stirrup tape horizontally under the foot. Take a piece of tape and begin on the inside of the foot just below the ankle at the anklebone. Wrap the tape around the heel then back up the other side of the ankle bone, creating an “X” under the foot. Go over the top of the foot squeezing out any wrinkles of the tape on the way up.
Step 7: Locking Strip
The locking strip is crucial in maintaining the stability of the Achilles tape. Place the tape horizontally around your ankle, just above the heel, about 1 inch from the bottom of the stirrup tape. Anchor the tape over the bottom of the stirrup tape toward the front of your ankle.
Step 8: Finishing the Tape Job
The last step is to finish the tape job. Start by checking the gaps between the tape and rectifying any gaps. Make sure the tape is snug but not too tight, as it can cut off the blood flow to your foot. End the tape job with another anchor strip on the tape just above the ankle. This is essential to secure the tape and ensure that it stays in place.
Mistakes to Avoid
While taping your Achilles tendon, it is essential to avoid a few errors to ensure that the tape job is done correctly.
1. Using the Wrong Tape Type
Using the wrong tape type puts you at risk of re-injuring your Achilles tendon, so make sure that you use tape specifically designed for that purpose.
2. Applying Tape Incorrectly
Failing to apply the tape correctly is one of the most preventable mistakes you can make when taping your Achilles tendon. Inaccurate placement could lead to further damage to the tendon or skin irritation.
3. Stretching the Tape Too Tight
It is important to remember not to stretch the tape too tightly. Stretching the tape too tight can reduce blood flow to your foot and toes, aggravating the injury and causing further damage to your tendon.
Tips for Maintaining Your Achilles Tendon Health
Here are several tips to help you protect your Achilles tendon from further injury:
Stretching is necessary for keeping your Achilles tendon healthy. Before you begin any exercise, make sure that you warm up and stretch each leg to prevent an injury.
2. Avoid Tension
Avoid tension when exercising. Exercises that involve a lot of jumping, running, or speedy change of directions should always be done with care.
3. Wear Proper Shoes
Make sure that you wear proper shoes when exercising or participating in sports that put a lot of pressure on your feet and Achilles tendon. Ensure your shoes have good ankle support.
4. Consult with a Physician
If you experience any form of pain or discomfort in your Achilles tendon, consult a physician immediately. Once your doctor diagnoses the injury, you can discuss the different options available to manage the pain.
1. Is taping my Achilles tendon safe during sports?
Yes, it is. Taping your Achilles tendon reduces the risk of further injury during sports. It gives specific support to the most affected areas and limits movements that could further damage the tendon.
2. Can’t I just use any tape to tape up the Achilles tendon?
No, you can’t. It is necessary to use tape specifically designed for Achilles taping. The tape allows the blood to continue to flow to the injured area while ensuring that you don’t injure the Achilles tendon further.
3. How often should I tape up my Achilles tendon?
This differs from person to person, and the severity of the injury. If you’re practicing regularly or playing sports, you should change the tape every 3 – 5 days, but if you are only engaging in light activities or exercises, the tape can last for 7 – 10 days.
Now that you know everything you need to tape your Achilles tendon like a pro, it is time to take action. Starting with, cleaning the feet, applying the pre-wrap, measuring the tape, placing anchor strips, stirrup tape, locking tape, and finishing tape. Ensure that you avoid any possible injury when applying this tape, and contact a physician if you experience any discomfort. Wear proper shoes while participating in different sports, avoid unnecessary tension, and stretch both legs to help keep your Achilles tendon healthy.
- Health Grades. “Achilles tendon taping.”, https://www.healthgrades.com/achilles-tendon-taping
- Boulder Denver Knee Surgeon. “Copper heeler for Achilles tendonitis.” https://www.boulderdenverkneesurgeon.com/blog/2020/august/do-copper-heelers-help-with-achilles-tendonitis
- Sports Health. “Achilles Tendon Injuries: Etiology, Epidemiology, and Rehabilitation.”, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435935/.