Using compression bandages may be necessary for some medical conditions. For example, if you suffer from lymphedema (excess fluid accumulation), varicose veins, ulcers or a sports injury, compression bandages can help provide relief. Ask your physician or physical therapist to instruct you on how to apply the bandages. Keep in mind that compression bandages should not be applied to the point of being too tight or cutting off your blood circulation.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Ace bandages
- Foam padding
Take a layer of thin foam padding and wrap this padding around your affected limb. According to The Lymphoedema Association of Australia, foam padding will help prevent the compression bandage from digging into and chaffing your skin. Begin layering the padding from the bottom of your limb (such as the bottom of your foot), and work your way upwards.
After you've padded your limb, secure the padding with tape. Starting from the bottom of your affected limb, take one bandage and begin to wrap the bandage around the padding.
When applying a compression bandage to your limb, keep the bandage's uppermost roll facing towards you. This will create a spiralling effect as you wrap the bandage around your affected limb.
Secure the bandage tight enough that the bandage won't unravel. However, loosen the bandages if they are tight to the point that mobility is restricted or that the bottom of your toes or fingers turn white.
Tape the bandage in place. Some bandages may come with metal fasteners, which can be used to secure the bandage in place.
Apply three to four layers of compression bandages to your limb. Your physician or physical therapist will instruct you on how many layers should be applied for your specific medical condition.
Tips and warnings
- Regularly wash your bandages, especially if you suffer from ulcers.
- Use compression bandages that are made out of natural products, such as cotton.
- Wear your bandages at night.
- Elevate the affected area to help reduce swelling.
- Don't apply bandages that have been unravelled.
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