Elastic Bandage| How to use an elastic bandage
What is an elastic bandage?
An elastic bandage is a stretchy rolled bandage designed to wrap around an injured body part. They come in many different sizes and lengths. Many people call them “Ace bandages,” named after the most common brand.
Elastic bandages come in rolls with metal clips, tape, or Velcro® to fasten them in place. You can buy them at your local grocery or pharmacy store. Your physiotherapist or doctor can help you choose the best bandage for you.
Why are elastic bandage used?
To provide gentle compression around the injured area. This will help control the swelling around the area and thus reduce the pain.
To support the injured area. It also reminds you that you have an injury and should not overdo yourself.
To hold anything that aids healing in place. This includes a splint or a hot or cold pack.
How should I put on an elastic bandage?
In general, the bandage should be wrapped firmly around the area but not too tight.
When you put on an elastic bandage start below the injury and continue to wrap back up around the injured area. For example, for a knee injury you would start beneath the knee and then wrap the bandage around and above the knee. This helps control swelling better.
Overlap the elastic bandage by one-half to one-third of its width each time you go around.
Fasten the end to the rest of the bandage with tape, metal clips, or Velcro®. Do not fasten metal clips on a bandage where there is a skin fold or crease, such as under the knee as they may rub against the skin and cause discomfort.
If you would like put a cold pack or ice bag around the injury, first put a couple of loops of the bandage around the injury first. Then place the ice pack over the bandage, then roll the remainder of the bandage around the pack to keep it snugly against your body.
How do I maximise my comfort while wearing the elastic bandage?
- Check with your doctor or physiotherapist if you can remove the bandage a few times a day and/or during the night. Remove the bandage for a few minutes and wrap it again.
- If you have numbness (loss of feeling) or tingling under the elastic bandage, 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, this means the bandage is too tight. Remove the bandage and when the temperature returns to normal, rewrap the area less tightly.
- 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.
- If the injured area continues to be painful, does not get better or seems worse after a few days, it is best to see a doctor to check the injury.