How to wear a compression bandage


A compression bandage is a type of elastic band that wraps around a part of the body and applies pressure to it. It is commonly used in first aid as part of a therapy known as RICE (rest, ice, compression, and lifting).

Compression helps reduce swelling by restricting blood flow and can also help relieve pain. It is important to know how to use compression bandages correctly so that they are not too tight or block blood circulation.

Compression bandages are commonly used to treat sprains and strains . But they can also help stabilize a part of the body, such as when a rib is broken . Bandages can also be used to prevent or treat fluid build-up in the lower extremities, known as edema .

In this article, we will discuss how to use compression bandages correctly, mistakes to avoid, and other treatment alternatives.

Get Medical Information / Cindy Chang

Choose the correct size

Compression bandages can be 2 to 6 inches wide. In general, the wider the bandage, the less likely it is to cause circulatory problems. Therefore, it is important to choose the correct size for the body part.

As an example:

  • The 6-inch compression bandage can be worn on the chest, torso, or hip.
  • A 3-4 inch bandage can fit an adult's arm or leg.
  • A 2-inch bandage may be suitable for children's hands or adult feet or fingers.

Always choose the correct size for that part of your body. A bandage that is too tight can interfere with blood circulation. A bandage that is too wide may not provide enough compression.

How to use

When using a pressure bandage, apply enough pressure to prevent swelling and stabilize the injury. This can be challenging as the parts of the body and the blood vessels that supply them vary in size and shape. Wrapping your hips is one thing; wrapping a complex joint like the ankle or wrist is another.

To wear a compression bandage on your leg or arm:

  1. Roll up the bandage if you haven't wrapped it already.
  2. Hold the bandage so that the beginning of the roll is facing up.
  3. Keep your limb in a neutral position.
  4. Start wrapping from the far end of the branch.
  5. Continue wrapping, overlapping the edges about an inch each time you wrap.
  6. When done, secure the end with snaps or tape.

To use an ankle compression bandage:

  1. Roll up the bandage if you haven't wrapped it already.
  2. Hold the bandage so that the beginning of the roll is facing up.
  3. Keep your ankle at an angle of about 90 degrees.
  4. Starting at the ball of the foot, wrap the bandage several times and continue rolling up to the heel.
  5. Leaving the heel open, wrap the bandage around your ankle.
  6. Next, circle the figure-eight band around the arch of your foot.
  7. Continue wrapping in a figure figure pattern, working up to the heel at the bottom and to the calf at the top.
  8. The bandage should cover the entire foot from the base of the toes to approximately 5-6 inches above the ankle.
  9. Secure the end with clamps or tape.

To wear a compression wristband:

  1. Roll up the bandage if you haven't wrapped it already.
  2. Hold the bandage so that the beginning of the roll is facing up.
  3. Start at the base of your fingers and wrap the bandage around your hand between your thumb and forefinger.
  4. Continue wrapping your arm toward your wrist, overlapping the bandage.
  5. Wrap your wrist several times, ending approximately 5-6 inches above the wrist.
  6. Secure the end with cable ties or tape.

The band should be tight enough, but not so tight that it causes pain, discomfort, numbness, tingling, and cold or blue fingers or toes. These are signs that the bandage is too tight and needs to be loosened.

Don't be afraid to ask for help if you don't know how to use a pressure bandage. When in doubt, call your doctor or ask your pharmacist to show you how to use it.


Compression bandages work well to reduce swelling. However, there is a limit to the duration of the compression injury. At some point, blood flow must increase to speed healing.

To improve healing and prevent injury, you should follow these guidelines:


  • Use a pressure bandage only for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury.

  • Whenever possible, combine rest and lifting with compression.

  • Remove the bandage at least twice a day for a few minutes before reapplying it.

  • Ask your doctor if you need to wear a bandage at night. If so, loosen it up a bit before bed.

Not to do

  • Do not apply ice and squeeze at the same time. This can cause frostbite.

  • Do not wrap the elastic bandage too tight. This can disrupt circulation.

  • Do not use a compression bandage to avoid re-injury. Bandages can help stabilize the joints, but they do not support or protect them.

    Never wear loose bandages. Washing the dressing can restore some of its elasticity. Buy new ones if necessary.


Compression bandages are very useful, but not suitable for all situations. There are several alternatives that may be more suitable for certain injuries or illnesses.

For longer wear, compression bandages may be recommended instead of compression bandages. These are wider pieces of elastic material, usually fastened with velcro. They are designed for large parts of the body, such as the chest or thighs, and provide stable and even compression.

There are also tubular elastic sleeves and compression socks , also designed for longer wear.

Self-adhesive compression bandages, such as Coban or Dynarex, are bandages that behave like tape but do not adhere to the skin. They can be ripped to a specific length and width from half an inch to 4 inches.

Self-adhesive compression bandages are commonly used in athletics or after blood collection for compression. They can even be used as a tourniquet .

A gauze bandage is not as strong as an elastic bandage. They are not commonly used for juicing these days because they tend to slip and lose shape quickly. They are better suited to stop bleeding or heal open wounds.


Compression bandages are most often used to treat acute injuries such as sprains or strains. Other compression devices may be suitable for long-term use or in emergency situations, such as bleeding.


A compression bandage is a long strip of elastic fabric that is wrapped around the stretch or stretch to apply slight pressure. By restricting blood flow, swelling and inflammation can be reduced. This not only promotes healing, but also helps improve the well-being of the injury.

It is important to use the compression bandage correctly. This includes choosing the correct size and wrapping the body part tightly to apply pressure without interrupting circulation. Generally, a compression bandage should only be worn for 24 to 48 hours after an injury.

Get the word of drug information

A wrist or ankle sprain is a common injury, so having a pressure bandage in your medicine cabinet is important. It is equally important to remember that compression bandages should not replace medical care if you have suffered a more serious injury, such as a muscle fracture or tear.

If the injury causes severe pain, visible deformity, joint obstruction, severe swelling or bruising, or an inability to stand or walk, see your doctor and have it checked.

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