Karapialis was born on June 13, 1965. He first played for Toxotis Larisa in 1978 before joining AE Larisa in 1986. He was instrumental in Larisa winning the Alpha Ethniki title in 1988. After the 1991 season, he transferred to Olympiakos. He quit after the 2000 season.
In total, Karapialis appeared in 374 top-league games and scored 89 goals. He was capped 21 times by the National Football Team of Greece (scoring two goals) though, amazingly, he was not included in the WC 1994 squad by coach Alketas Panagoulias.
Karapialis currently runs a football academy for youngsters.