Bandaging of an injury is performed for many different reasons. It is an important way to control and prevent excessive blood loss. Various bandaging techniques are also used to minimize swelling and provide support to an injured area. Certain types of wrapping have been found to be the most effective, such as figure-eight and pressure bandages. The specific techniques used depend on the type and location of the injury.
A figure-eight bandage using either a roll of gauze or an elastic wrap is probably the most commonly used of the various joint bandaging techniques. It is usually applied to a joint such as the wrist, elbow or ankle. The bandage is first secured by wrapping it around a straight section of the arm or leg above the injury. It is then brought down below the injured area, looped halfway around and brought back up to the starting point, creating an eight. This is repeated until the injury is stabilized.
Spiral wrapping is one of the bandaging techniques that is often used for arms and legs. It can be done with either an elastic bandage or with gauze. This method starts with anchoring the bandage by wrapping it over itself so that it is held securely in place, usually below the injury. The bandage is then wrapped upward around the limb in a spiral pattern, with the new layer of bandage covering about half of the previous layer. The bandaging continues until the injury is well-covered.
For an injury that involves a lot of bleeding, one of the most useful bandaging techniques is the combination of a spiral wrap with a thick layer of gauze or other suitable material to create a pressure bandage. Pressure is often the best way to get a wound to stop bleeding, or at least to slow it down. A pad of gauze or cloth can be used. A new feminine sanitary napkin is also a good choice for covering a bleeding wound, as it is highly absorbent and essentially germ-free. The absorbent material is applied directly to the wound, then a spiral wrap is used to hold it in place.
Whatever type of bandaging techniques are used, it is important to make sure that the bandage is not wrapped so tightly that it interferes with circulation. The limb below the wrap should be checked often to make sure it is still warm and pink. This is especially important when using an elastic bandage, as it is easy to wrap one too tightly. If circulation is cut off serious damage can result, possibly causing permanent damage.