Whether you’re trying to help out a friend or you’ve hurt your own foot, knowing how to properly deal with and take care of an injured foot can save you a lot of stress and problems later.
Here’s a quick how-to guide on how to properly take care of and bandage an injured foot or ankle.
How to Stop Any Bleeding
If there is any blood involved, it is important to first wash your hands and put on medical gloves (if available) before applying direct pressure to the wound. If gloves aren’t available, use many layers of clean cloth, plastic bags, or the cleanest fabric available between your hands and the wound.
In order to stop the bleeding, you should:
- Have the injured person lie down and elevate their foot for a full 15 minutes
- Remove any visible objects in the wound that are easy to remove
- Remove clothing and jewelry from the general area of the wound in case of swelling
- If blood soaks through the cloth, apply a clean one
How to Wrap an Injured Foot or Ankle
To prevent further injury and encourage proper healing, you should make sure that you protect and compress your foot, as well as rest, ice, and elevate your injury. There are a couple different types of material that you can use to wrap and compress an injured foot or ankle, including an elastic cloth bandage and athletic tape.
Wrapping with an Elastic Cloth Bandage
- Begin wrapping—place the end of the bandage where the toes meet the foot. Begin by wrapping the bandage around the ball of the foot. Hold the end of the bandage against the ball of the foot with one hand, and use the other to bring the tail around the foot from the outside. Make sure to keep the bandage tight, but not so tight that it decreases blood flow to the foot and toes.
- Work your way toward the ankle—wrap the ball of the foot twice, to hold the bandage in place, then begin moving up towards the ankle, being sure to leave at least one-half inch of bandage overlapping the previous layer. Make sure the layers are smooth and even with no unnecessary bulges or lumps. Start over if you need to do the job more neatly.
- Wrap the ankle—when you get to the ankle, bring the end of the bandage up outside of the foot, over the instep and around the inside of the ankle. Then bring it around the heel, back up over the instep, under the foot and around the ankle. Continue making a figure eight around the ankle several times to fully stabilize the ankle.
- Finish the wrap—the last wrap should rise several inches above the ankle to help stabilize it. Use the metal fasteners or medical tape to secure the remaining bandage. Excess bandage can also be tucked under the last layer, provided there’s not too much excess.
Wrapping with Athletic Tape
- Decide if athletic tape is right for you—while athletic tape works to wrap an injured ankle, it is primarily made to wrap an uninjured joint before physical activities to avoid injury, not to protect an already injured ankle.
- Begin with an underwrap—underwrap is a non-adhesive material used to wrap the foot and ankle before tape is applied, so that the tape doesn’t pull at the surface of the skin. Starting at the ball of the foot, wind the underwrap around the foot up to the ankle, leaving the heel uncovered.
- Secure the anchor—cut the strip of tape long enough to wrap one and a half times around your ankle. Wind it around your ankle, over the underwrap, to hold the underwrap in place.
- Create a stirrup—place the end of a piece of tape on one side of the anchor. Bring it down under the arch of the foot and back up to the other side of the anchor. Press it lightly to secure it in place. Repeat with two more pieces of tape overlapping the first one to create a sturdy stirrup.
- Create an X over the foot—place the end of a piece of tape at the ankle bone and run it diagonally over the top of the foot. Bring it down under the arch and toward the inside of the heel. Then bring it around the back of the heel and back up over the foot to create the other part of the X.
- Make a figure eight—place the end of a piece of tape on the outside of the ankle, just above the bone. Run it over the top of the foot at an angle, then bring it under the arch and up the other side of the foot. Next bring it around the ankle and back to the point where you started. Use another piece of tape to make a second figure eight that overlaps the first one. This will ensure that the wrap is held securely in place an provides enough support for the ankle to heal properly.
If a foot or ankle injury is serious and/or life-threatening, it’s important to call an ambulance. However, if the pain is manageable and you need help in dealing with the injury and getting back on your feet as soon as possible, be sure to get in contact with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie today.