Bandages: everything you need to know

Bandages constitute a procedure that is based on wrapping a body part that is injured. For this, gauze, canvas, bandages or other materials are usually used. The injury can range from something muscular, such as a contracture, to a wound that bleeds noticeably.

Bandages have been used throughout history. It is believed that Hippocrates, who was a doctor from ancient Greece on which many aspects of current medicine are still based, was the first to place a bandage to treat a venous ulcer.

However, older civilizations, such as the Egyptians, already used them for other purposes. Currently, almost the entire population uses it daily for injuries or bruises. Therefore, in this article we explain everything you need to know about bandages.

What are bandages for?

As you know, bandages can be of various types and have multiple different uses. Most often they are used to protect wounds, preventing them from infection and helping to stop bleeding.

They are also often used to limit the movement of any member or of a particular joint, as happens in sprains. In the same way, they help to fix splints or to support some part of the body.

Bandages can be useful to help venous circulation. This is useful in people who have leg edemas, for example. They allow to fix dressings and medicines and, to emphasize it, they serve to stop hemorrhages.

Bandages function

In this way, in summary, we can say that The bandages can be:

  • Contentive: they are those that are used for certain cures, when holding a dressing or medication.
  • Compressives: they are the ones that help to firmly squeeze a limb, to stop a hemorrhage for example.
  • Corrective: are those that immobilize and fix a member allowing it to be repaired, as in the case of bones.

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What types of bandages exist?

Normally, bandages are made in different ways depending on the purpose they have. For example, the circular bandage is usually used to hold a dressing on one arm or one leg. To do this, the entire member is wrapped in the form of a ring, as indicated by its name.

Moreover, it is the spiral bandage, which is used more to hold splints in the hand, in the arms or legs. In this case, the bandage that is used is elastic and is placed following a spiral.

Herringbone bandage is very similar to spiral bandages. The difference is that it goes backwards with the bandage and, in the end, the two laps are crossed. It is used more in the lower limbs to help venous return.

There are also so-called bandages ‘in eight‘ They are the ones that are usually placed on the joints. To do this, it begins to bandage under the joint, doing several spiral turns with the bandage. We pass the bandage up, as if drawing the top of the eight. Once we have taken a couple of turns in that part, we lower the band again.

You have to alternate ascending and descending turns, and you get an eight-shaped bandage. There is a special form of bandage in eight that is used to treat clavicle fractures, where the number eight is formed on the back of the patient's back, pulling the shoulders back.

Finally, we found the recurring bandage. It is the way to bandage the head or an amputated limb. To do this, the bandage is worn from the front to the back covering the entire area. Then, circles are made that fix this horizontally.

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Do they have any risk?

Like any other treatment or technique, bandages may also have certain complications. Especially, when used without knowledge or without being fully indicated.

When a bandage is excessively squeezed, compression syndrome may occur. This occurs when oxygenated blood cannot reach all parts due to compression. The parts that remain isolated become cold and bluish in color.

Further, bedsores or ulcers can occur due to the use of very rigid bandages. Similarly, it is common for the skin to macerate if the bandage is applied over a moist area.

In conclusion

Bandages are a very useful technique for treating many injuries, from simple wounds to bone fractures. But nevertheless, It is recommended that they always be carried out by a professional who knows the technique and instructions to do it.