Elastic Bandage: How to Use

What is an elastic bandage?

An elastic bandage is a stretchy, rolled bandage designed to wrap around a body part, such as a leg or arm, to give support. The bandages come in several different sizes up to 6 inches wide. Many people call them Ace bandages, which is the name of a common brand.

What is an elastic bandage used for?

An elastic bandage gives firm pressure to an injured body part. It helps limit swelling and ease pain. The bandage gives some support to the injured area, but you may need to wear a splint or brace to give more support and protection during sports or other activities. An elastic bandage may also be used to help prevent some sports injuries. Ask your healthcare provider about this.

You can use an elastic bandage to hold an ice pack on an injury. Put a couple of loops of the bandage around the injury first and then place the ice bag over the bandage. Roll the rest of the bandage around the ice pack to hold it snugly against your body.

How do I use an elastic bandage?

To wrap an elastic bandage around an injured body part:

  • Place one end of the bandage below the injured body part.
  • Wrap up and around the body part, overlapping at least half of the bandage with each loop. For example, for a knee injury you would start below the knee and then wrap the bandage around and above the knee.
  • The end of the wrap should stop above the injury.
  • Use tape or clips to keep the end of the bandage in place.

Wrap the bandage firmly but not too tightly. If it’s too tight, it can cut off blood flow to the injured area and cause swelling. For example, if an elastic bandage on your ankle is too tight, your feet and toes may swell, feel cold, or turn bluish. If this happens, be sure to loosen the bandage.

Keep using the elastic bandage until the injured area is no longer painful or swollen.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-09-05
Last reviewed: 2014-01-23
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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