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How to Compression Wrap a Foot

By Sandra Koehler ; Updated July 27, 2017

The foot and ankle can experience swelling as the result of an injury to any of the tendons, ligaments or muscles. Compression wrapping is the application of an elastic bandage to help manage swelling issues. By using a compression wrap on the foot and the ankle, the entire area is supported and protected from further injury. When applied correctly, the elasticity of the bandage will gradually drive the excess fluid buildup away from the foot and back up in the body. It can also help minimize further swelling.

Position the injured foot in a neutral position so ankle is at a 90 degree angle. Place the end of the compression bandage flat against the top of the foot just above the toes.

Wrap bandage snugly across the top of the foot and around the bottom of the foot on a slight upwards angle.

Continue wrapping bandage across the top and bottom of the foot towards the ankle. Alternate an upwards angle with a downwards angle.

Continue wrapping around the heel and up the ankle several inches for swelling and pain issues which call for foot and ankle immobility to support an injury such as a sprain. To manage swelling and maintain foot mobility, do not wrap heel area.

Secure compression wrap with medical tape.

Tip

For a foot compression wrap, a bandage should be 2 to 3 inches wide and between 4 to 6 feet long.

The bandage should be snug but not so tight that it restricts circulation.

When wrapping the foot it is a good idea to include heel and ankle to stabilize the foot. The heel can be left unwrapped to allow for foot and ankle motion, however, leaving the heel out may cause fluid buildup. Make sure to check open heel frequently to avoid localized swelling in that area.

Wrapping on an alternating diagonal fashion helps prevent constriction of blood flow.

Warnings

Check the toes. If they tingle or become blue the flow of blood is constricted. Always make sure you have unrestricted movement of the toes.

If pain and swelling increases or continues after a few days consult with a medical professional.

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