How to wrap a bandage

Written by lisa green
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How to wrap a bandage
Elasticated bandages help reduce swelling by applying compression to the injured area. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Bandages are available in different fabrics and shapes. The elasticated bandage -- sometimes referred to as an Ace bandage, compression bandage or crepe bandage -- is one of the most commonly used and simplest to apply. Usually purchased as a rolled-up length of stretchy fabric, elasticated bandages are wrapped around an injured body part to secure dressings and reduce swelling by applying compression; they also offer support in the case of joints with soft-tissue injuries -- e.g., sprained wrists or ankles.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Elasticated bandage
  • Bandage clips

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Instructions

    Wrist

  1. 1

    Select an appropriate-sized bandage.

  2. 2

    Circle the wrist with the bandage twice to secure it in place, starting and finishing inside the wrist. Apply firmly for compression, but take care not to pull too tight.

  3. 3

    Bring the bandage roll diagonally down across the back of the hand, between the thumb and index finger, and back up across the palm to the wrist.

  4. 4

    Bring the bandage around the wrist, a half turn to the other side.

  5. 5

    Bring the bandage roll down across the palm, around the outside of the little finger, and back across the back of the hand to the wrist, completing a figure-eight pattern.

  6. 6

    Repeat steps 2 through 4 to create a second figure-eight turn.

  7. 7

    Wind the bandage around the wrist in one complete turn.

  8. 8

    Continue to make circular turns, moving slightly up the forearm and overlapping half of the previous layer of bandage at each turn.

  9. 9

    Secure the end of the bandage with a bandage clip.

    Ankle

  1. 1

    Select an appropriate-sized bandage.

  2. 2

    Wind the bandage around the ball of the foot at the base of the toes twice to secure it in place, circling under the foot from inside to outside. Apply firmly for compression, but take care not to pull too tight.

  3. 3

    Circle the foot, moving toward the ankle and overlapping half of the previous layer of bandage each turn.

  4. 4

    Continue to make circular, overlapping turns over the heel and ankle, then up the leg to mid-calf.

  5. 5

    Secure the end of the bandage with a bandage clip

Tips and warnings

  • If you are applying a bandage to yourself, start by gripping the end of the bandage between your thumb and index finger.
  • If you are applying a bandage to someone other than yourself, sit or stand on the side of the injured body part so you do not have to lean across the person's body. Support the injured part in the position it will be in when the bandage is on.
  • As a general rule, begin wrapping a bandage at the end of the body part farthest from your heart and work toward your heart, being sure to overlap each turn of the bandage without leaving any gaps.
  • A bandage should be wrapped firmly to apply compression to the injured body part, but not tight enough to restrict circulation. Where possible, leave fingers or toes exposed when wrapping a limb so you can easily monitor the circulation. Press a nail or a piece of skin on the wrapped body part until it turns pale. If it the colour does not return straight away, loosen the bandage as it may be too tight. Repeat at ten-minute intervals after applying the bandage in case of swelling.
  • Seek professional medical help immediately in the case of dislocation, broken bone(s) or severe bleeding.
  • Do not attempt to realign an injured limb unless the skin looks pale or blue or there is no pulse.
  • Consult your doctor if your sprain doesn't improve after two or three days
  • This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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