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How to Tape an MCL Sprain for Skiing

Tape prevents your knee from bending unnaturally during hairpin turns.

MCL sprains are common among freestyle skiers who perform aerial tricks. High-impact landings put excess pressure on the medial collateral ligaments located on the inner side of your knee joints. A sprain weakens the ligament and increases the likelihood of an MCL tear. While it's never a good idea to ski with an injury, you can use a specialized taping technique to keep your knees stabilized during turns and maneuvers.


Shave your leg from your thigh to the base of your calf muscle before the taping process. Applying a layer of foam underwrap can protect your leg from painful hair removal during the tape-removal procedure. To ensure the foam underwrap stays in position, apply a skin adhesive spray around the circumference of your leg. Wrap the elastic underwrap from the base of your calf muscle to the top of your thigh.

Taping Supplies

Using the right kinds of tape will help to keep your MCL stabilized throughout a long day on the slopes. For the initial steps of the knee taping process, use elastic adhesive tape that features a width of 2 to 3 inches. In addition to a roll of 1.5-inch elastic adhesive tape, you'll also need a roll of non-stretch tape that features a width of 1.5 inches.

Anchor Strips and Knee Position

The first step of the taping process involves applying two anchor strips above the knee and two anchor strips below the knee. Wrap two pieces of 2- to 3-inch elastic adhesive tape around the middle of your calf muscle in a horizontal position. Repeat the process at the base of your thigh to complete the initial step. Make sure the tape doesn't make direct contact with your skin. Bend your leg slightly and turn your toes inward to begin the final steps of the taping procedure.

MCL Taping

Cut a piece of 1.5-inch elastic tape 8 to 10 inches long. Apply the tape starting on the outside edge of your lower anchor strips. Extend the tape across the inner edge of your knee and connect it to the inside edge of your upper anchor strips. Apply a second piece of identical tape from the inside edge of your lower anchor to the outside edge of your upper anchor. These strips of tape should form an X-shaped design over your MCL. Cover the criss-crossed pieces of tape with a strip of non-stretch tape. Reinforce your anchor strips with an additional piece of 2- to 3-inch elastic adhesive tape.

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