How to Bandage the Hand or Wrist

Updated June 13, 2017

Knowing how to bandage a hand or wrist in the event of an injury is an important skill, particularly if you enjoy hiking or camping in the wilderness. Wrapping an injured hand or wrist will keep it immobilised, helping to prevent further injury. In case of a wound, wrapping can also stem blood flow and provide a barrier between the wound and dirt or bacteria. Incorrect technique, however, can cut off circulation or irritate broken bones or tendons. Take the time to learn the proper way to bandage a hand or wrist before attempting.

Fold a square piece of cloth in half to make a triangle.

Place the injured hand in the middle of the triangular bandage with the wrist at the base, or long side, of the bandage.

Separate the injured person's fingers with absorbent material, additional cloth or cotton pads, to prevent skin irritation.

Fold the tip of the triangle down over the hand and tuck excess material underneath the hand.

Cross the ends of the triangle over the top of the hand, one at a time, taking them around and underneath the wrist.

Tie the ends in a secure knot or fasten with a safety pin.

Fold handkerchief or cloth into a long rectangle, resembling a tie.

Center the cloth over the palm of the hand, letting the ends hang down.

Wrap the pinky-side end around the back of the hand, pulling it over the base of the thumb and back across the palm.

Take the thumb-side end across the back of the hand, over the palm and between the thumb and index finger.

Cross the ends over the back of the hand, bringing them up over the wrist to cross them again.

Tie the ends around the back of the wrist with a secure knot.

Place the hand palm-side up, and wrap an elastic bandage, starting at the outside or pinky-side of the wrist. Make one turn around the wrist before going over the back of the hand and cross the palm.

Pull the bandage diagonally through the space between the thumb and index finger.

Complete one more pass; wrap the bandage across the palm, under the thumb, over the back of the hand, across the wrist, up over the back of the hand and between the thumb and index finger.

Move on to wrap the wrist, pulling the bandage around the wrist diagonally to make a crisscross pattern.

Continue wrapping until you reach the end of the bandage; pin securely with safety pins.


Check the fingers and fingernails for circulation; fingers should be warm and pink. If fingers are blue and cool to the touch, loosen the bandage.


Clean and dress wounds before applying a hand or wrist bandage. Wrap the hand before wrapping the wrist, and never wrap the wrist alone; wrapping only the wrist can lead to swelling in the hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Elastic or rolling bandage
  • Clean handkerchief or square piece of cloth
  • Additional cotton wool or cloth
  • Safety pins
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About the Author

Christy Callahan has been researching and writing in the integrative health care field for over five years, focusing on neuro-endocrinology. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, earned credits toward a licensure in traditional Chinese medicine and is a certified Pilates and sport yoga instructor.