Ankle Sprain First Aid: Compression Wrap Application

Fact Checked

In order to prevent swelling of the ankle as a result of too much activity or injury, compression wraps are often used to speed up the recovery process.  Using compression wraps can also help the sprained ankle from escalating into a more severe form of injury, because it helps hold the ankle in position to facilitate healing.

Because ankle sprains could lead to life-long injuries, it is necessary to administer first aid as soon as possible. Though compression wraps do not actually heal the sprain, applying it can help decrease swelling, making the person feel better in the process.

How Is Ankle Compression Wrap Applied?

Remember that most drugstores sell elastic bandage for ankles, which is also known as ACE wrap. Here are the steps on how to apply compression wraps:

First, cut several u-shaped felt to form a half inch-thick pad. The size of the felt pad will vary from the size of the sprain on the affected area. This cloth pad will serve as the cushioning outside and around the anklebone prior to the application of compression wraps.

Second, make sure that the ankle is positioned at a 90-degree angle before applying the bandage. Begin putting one end of the bandage at the tip of the toe and then wrap the side of the foot with the bandage. Next, wrap the ball of the foot, while keeping the tightness at the desired level. This is the first, wrap.

Now, begin the second wrap. Circle the wrap around the foot arch, while working your way from the toes across the top of the foot and around the ankle again. Using a figure-eight pattern, pull the wrap diagonally from the upper part of the foot to the bottom of the foot arch.

Upon reaching the ankle bone, place the bandage on the felt piece to secure it in place. Begin with the third wrap, doing the same figure-eight pattern. But this time, you should work your way from the foot and the ankle to the bottom of the heel. Next, continue wrapping toward the bottom of the calf, covering the entire foot and ankle.  Use the clip or tape to secure the remaining end of the bandage.

Remember the following – the tightness of the wrap should be snug yet should not impede the blood circulation. To determine the right tightness, check the tip of the toes. If there is bluish or purplish discoloration, or a tingly or numbing sensation, this means that the bandage is too tight and should be adjusted for comfort.

Simple first aid techniques like this can help improve the condition of the patient. Learn more about first aid and CPR from us.

Related Video of Compression Wraps:

[youtube url=””]


“Ankle Sprains.” Family Doctor. Retrieved online on December 21, 2014 from

“Applying a Compression Wrap for a Sprain Ankle.” Web MD. Retrieved online on December 21, 2014 from

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Call Now Button

  • All content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional