HOW TO USE AN ELASTIC BANDAGE
Elastic bandages come in many different sizes and lengths. They may come in rolls with metal clips, tape, or Velcro to fasten them in place.
An elastic bandage puts gentle pressure on the tissue around an injury. It also gives support to the injured area. You may need an elastic bandage for one or more of the following reasons:
- To help decrease pain and reduce swelling of an injured area
- To hold wound bandages in place.
- To wrap around an arm or leg splint during healing.
- To improve blood flow to a limb like an arm or leg.
- To hold cold or hot packs in place on a body part, such as an arm.
How to Use an Elastic Bandage:
Ask your health care professional to show you how to wrap the bandage. How do you wrap an ankle? The following example will demonstrate the process for wrapping an ankle with an elastic bandage. These directions may also be used to wrap a hand, wrist, elbow, or knee.
- Hold the elastic bandage so that the roll is facing up. This way, bandages containing Velcro face the right way and stick to the bandage when you finish wrapping.
- Start the loose end of the bandage on the top of the foot.
- Hold the loose end in place with one hand. With the other hand, wrap the bandage in a circle twice around the foot. Always wrap the elastic bandage in the direction of outside (little toe side of foot) to inside (big toe side of foot).
- Overlap the elastic bandage by one-half to one-third of its width each time you go around.
- After the foot has been wrapped twice, move your hand to the heel.
- Wrap the bandage moving up toward the ankle. It should be wrapped in a spiral way, like making a figure 8. Leave the heel uncovered.
- Cross the elastic bandage over the foot, moving upward, and pass it behind the ankle.
- Move the bandage down and cross it over the top of the foot.
- Wrap the elastic bandage under the foot to complete the "figure 8". Repeat this one more time.
- Pass around your calf and start wrapping it in upward circles toward your knee. Stop wrapping below the knee. You do not need to wrap the elastic bandage down the calf again.
- Fasten the end to the rest of the bandage with tape, metal clips, or Velcro. Do not fasten metal clips on an elastic bandage where there is a skin fold or crease, such as under the knee.
Tips for safety and comfort:
- Do not to wrap the elastic bandage too tight because it may cut off blood flow.
- To help with blood flow, take off the wrap at least two times a day if okay with your caregiver. Leave it off for a few minutes before wrapping the ankle again. Ask your caregiver if you should take off the elastic bandage at night.
- If you have numbness (loss of feeling) or tingling, remove the bandage. Gently rub the area. Rewrap the bandage when the area feels better.
- If the part of your body with the elastic bandage becomes cold or turns blue, remove the wrap.
- You may want to have an extra elastic bandage. Then you can wash one when it gets dirty and have the other elastic bandage to use.