Health knowledge made personal
Join this community!
› Share page:

How do I apply a bandage?

Posted by Be Well

How do I apply a bandage?
Answers (1)
Sort by: Newest first | Oldest first

The key points when applying a bandage are:

  • Make sure the person is comfortable and tell them what you are doing.

  • Make sure you work from the side of the injury and do not have to lean across their body.

  • Keep the injured part of the body supported in the position it will be in when the bandage is on.

  • Make sure you use the right size bandage - different parts of the body need different widths of bandage.

  • If possible, do not cover fingers or toes when bandaging a limb, so that you can easily check the circulation.

  • Apply the bandage firmly, but not tightly, and secure the end by folding it over and tying a knot in the end. You can also use a safety pin, adhesive (sticky) tape, or a bandage clip.

  • As soon as you have put the bandage on, ask the person if the bandage feels too tight and check the circulation by pressing a nail or a piece of skin until it turns pale. If it the color does not return right away the bandage may be too tight, so you should loosen it. Limbs can swell up after an injury so check the circulation every ten minutes after you have put the bandage on.

There are three main types of bandage: roller, tubular and triangular.

Roller bandages are used to secure dressings and support injured limbs. They can be made of cotton, gauze, elasticated fabric or linen.

There are three types of roller bandage:

  • bandages that are made of open-weave material allow ventilation but do not put pressure or wounds and do not support joints,
  • elasticated bandages mold to the body shape and are used to secure dressings and support soft tissue injuries like sprains, and
  • crepe bandages are used to give firm support to injured joints.

To apply a roller bandage:

  • Keep the rolled part of the bandage above the injury and the unrolled part below the injury.
  • Make two straight turns in the bandage around the injury to hold the end in place.
  • Work up the limb, gasing the bandage from the inside to the outside in spiralling turns making sure that each new turn covers one third to two thirds of the previous one.
  • Finish with one straight turn and secure the end of the bandage.

When applying bandages to elbows and knees (to hold dressings in place or support sprains or strains) flex the joint slightly, apply the bandage in a figure of eight and extend the bandage quite far on each side of the joint.

When applying bandages on hands (to hold dressings in place or to support sprains and strains), work from the inside of the wrist using diagonal turns across the back of the hand to the end of the little finger, leaving the thumb free.

Tubular bandages are used to hold dressings on fingers or toes or support injured joints. They are made of seamless tubular fabric. You can get elasticated ones for joints such as the ankle. Ones made of tubular gauze can be used for fingers or toes but they do not provide any pressure to stop bleeding.

Triangular bandages are normal bandages that are folded into a triangle shape. They can be used as large dressings, as slings to support a limb or to secure a dressing in place. You can also use a household item like a scarf to make a triangular bandage.

If you are using the bandage as a sling on an arm , you use it opened out.

  • Ask the person to hold their arm across their chest and support the arm while you work.
  • Put the bandage under the arm and around the back of the neck.
  • Put the other half of the bandage over the arm to meet at the shoulder and tie into a knot.
  • Tuck the loose ends of the bandage in at the elbow, or use a pin.

If you are using a triangular bandage to support a limb or large dressing, fold it in half horizontally so the point of the triangle touches the middle of the long edge. Then fold it in half again in the same direction to make a broad strip.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
Post an answer
Write a comment: