Emergency advice

Bandaging:

  1. Support the casualty.
  2. Start bandaging from the front and injured side.
  3. If triangular bandage used, tie the ends in a reef knot.
  4. Check their circulation.

What are the different types of bandages?

There are three main types of bandages:

  • Roller bandages: use these to support injured limbs and hold dressings in place. They can be used particularly for ankles, knees, wrists or elbows.
  • Tubular bandages: use these to support injured joints and hold dressings on fingers or toes.
  • Triangular bandages: use these as slings to support a wrist, arm or shoulder injury, and as a bandage and dressing when folded for large wounds.

What to do

  1. Reassure them and explain what you’re going to do.

    • Help them to sit or lie in a comfortable position.
    • Support the limb or injured part of the body before applying the bandage.
  2. Start bandaging from the front and injured side of the casualty. Apply the bandage firmly, but not so tight that it’s restricting circulation.

    • Leave fingers and toes exposed to help you check their circulation.
  3. Use spiral turns when wrapping the bandage around the limb, working from the inside to the outside of the limb.

  4. Use pins or tape to fasten roller bandages. Otherwise you can tuck the bandage in securely.

  5. Use a reef knot to tie a triangular bandage: right over left and under, then left over right and under.

  6. Once you’ve finished tying the bandage, make sure you check for circulation by pressing on their finger or toe for five seconds until it goes pale.

    • If the colour doesn’t come back after two seconds, then the bandage is too tight, and you will need to reapply more loosely.
    • Check the circulation every 10 minutes.
Did you find this information helpful?

Related first aid advice

Strains and sprains

Injuries to the soft structure around the bones and joints are commonly called strains and sprains. They are often associated with sports activities.

Severe bleeding

When bleeding is severe, it can be dramatic and distressing. Find out what to do.

How to apply a dressing

When you have a wound, you should always cover it with a dressing as this can help to prevent infection. Find out what to do.

St John Ambulance volunteers providing support