- Pick your bandage. For most people, the best choice of wrapping for a compression wrap is a cloth elastic bandage, sometimes colloquially known as an “ACE bandage,” after a common brand of elastic bandage.
Any brand of elastic bandage will work. However, wider bandages (between one-and-half and three inches wide) are usually easier to use.
Cloth elastic bandages are comfortable, since they're made of stretchy cloth. They are also reusable. (When you're finished, you can wash it and use it again when you need it.)
Some bandages come with metal clips for fastening the end of the wrap. If yours does not include metal clips, medical tape can also be used to secure the end of the bandage when the wrap is complete.
- Prepare the bandage. If your elastic bandage is not already wrapped, roll the bandage into a tight coil.
Compression wraps should fit against the foot and ankle snugly, so it helps to have the cloth wrap coiled tightly from the beginning, making it less likely that you will need to stretch and readjust the bandage as you go.
- Position the bandage. If you are wrapping your own ankle, it may be easier to position the rolled bandage on the inside of your foot. If you are wrapping someone else’s ankle, it may be easier position the rolled bandage on the outside of the foot.
In either case, it’s crucial that coil face away from the foot, so that the coiled portion of the bandage is on the outside of the foot as you wrap it.
For example, if you think of the coiled bandage as a roll of toiled paper and the foot as a wall, the coiled bandage should be in an “under” orientation.
- Add extra padding, if necessary. For extra support, you can place a gauze pad on either side of the ankle before wrapping. Horseshoe-shaped padding cut from foam or felt is also used for extra stability in compression wraps.