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
• 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
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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• How to bandage an ankle, knee or
• How to make a