How to put on a bandage

You can use a bandage to hold a dressing in place, to control bleeding, to support a limb and stop it moving, and to raise an injured limb to reduce swelling.

There are two main types of bandage:

• Roller bandages: use these to hold dressings in place and to support injured limbs, particularly for ankles, knees, wrists or elbows.

• Triangular bandages: use these as large dressings, as slings to support a wrist, arm or shoulder injury, or folded as a broad-fold bandage to stop a limb from moving.

If you can’t find a bandage, then you can always improvise by using a piece of clothing or material. For example, you could fold a headscarf diagonally in half to make a triangular bandage for a sling.

How to put on a bandage:

If someone’s hurt themselves and you need to apply a bandage, below are the key things to remember.

• Reassure them and explain what you’re going to do before you start.

• Make them comfortable by helping them sit or lie down in a comfortable position.

• Support the injury by holding the limb carefully, or ask them or someone else to help.

• Start bandaging from the front and from the side of the body or limb that’s injured.

• Apply bandages firmly but not so tightly that it restricts their circulation.

• Generally, wrap the bandage using spiral turns working from the inside to the outside of the limb

• For joint injuries, make diagonal turns in a figure-of-eight above and below the joint. See below for specific techniques.

• To immobilise a limb, make a broad-fold bandage: lay a triangular bandage flat on a clean surface, fold it in half horizontally so the point touches the base, and then fold it in half again.

• Leave fingers and toes peeking out, if possible, so you can press them to check circulation afterwards.

• Use pins or tape to fasten roller bandages, otherwise, tuck the bandage in as securely as you can.

• Use reef knots to tie triangular bandages: right over left and under, then left over right and under.

• Check their circulation: Once you’ve finished, check for circulation, by pressing one of their finger or toe nails for five seconds until it goes pale. If the colour doesn’t come back within two seconds, the bandage is too tight so you’ll need to loosen it and do it again. Check their circulation every ten minutes.

Specific bandage techniques for joints:

The most common types of injury are in the joints, which can seem a bit tricky but are easy if you know how, so make sure you know these three main techniques:

• How to bandage a hand or wrist injury.

• How to bandage an ankle, knee or elbow injury.

• How to make a sling.

Help to save lives - donate now

 Donate collection

Your support enables more people to save lives 

Free mobile first aid app

Free mobile first aid app

Get first aid advice at your fingertips with our free app for Android, Apple and BlackBerry.

First aid kits

First aid kit

Get a first aid kit from our wide range.

Contact and copyright info