How To Bandage A Hand – First Aid Advice | STC

Bandage a hand

THE KEY POINTS When Applying A Hand Bandage Are:

  • WORK from the injured side of the body. Don’t lean across them to treat them.
  • SUPPORT the injured limb in the position it will remain once bandaged.
  • Use the RIGHT WIDTH bandage for the body that needs bandaging, need different widths of bandage.
  • Where possible, AVOID COVERING all of the fingers or toes when bandaging a limb. You will need to check the capillary action and circulation to ensure the bandage is not too tight.
  • Apply the bandage FIRMLY and SECURE the end by folding it over and tucking it into the layer below. YOU CAN ALSO USE a safety pin, tape, a bandage clip, or a netting sock.
  • Once applied, ASK IF IT FEELS too tight and check the circulation by pressing on a fingernail or a piece of skin until it turns pale. If the colour does not return straight away, the bandage is too tight. You will need to REWRAP it not so tightly.
  • CHECK THE CIRCULATION every 10 minutes for one hour after applying the bandage. Limbs often swell up after an injury occurs as part of the healing process. 

What Are The 5 Types Of Bandages

Crepe Hand Bandage

Crepe bandages provide firm support but do not give complete immobility to injured joints like ankles, wrists, knees, shoulders, and elbows.

Open Weave Gauze Hand Bandage

Open Weave Gauze bandages allow ventilation but do not put pressure on wounds and do not support joints. They serve the temporary purpose of protecting minor injuries from infection and further damage in most cases.

Tubular Bandages Band

A tubular bandage acts like a sock to hold everything below in place. It can be a solid material or a netting style.

Elasticated Hand Bandage

Elasticated bandages are self-adhesive without the stickiness or tackiness of a Band-Aid. They come in every colour under the sun and mould to a person’s body shape. They can be used to secure dressings and support soft tissue injuries like sprains. They can also be used as a substitute for plaster for broken limbs in some cases where the fracture is a green break or a hairline fracture.

triangular hand bandage

Triangle Bandages, ironically, are square when unfolded. They call them triangle bandages due to their predominant use being to provide a sling for injured arms where the square is wrapped carefully under the injury and then tied behind the neck to form two triangles to look at.

Triangle bandages are also used to make ring bandages that can be placed around open fractures to prevent direct pressure from being applied to the broken bones exiting the skin while allowing pressure to stop the blood flow to be applied evenly around the injury site.

Method For Applying A Roller Bandage To The Hand

  1. Start wrapping the hand from above the wrist with two passes around the wrist.
  2. With the palm face down, work down the hand to the little finger and then across, leaving the first knuckles free to check capillary action.
  3. Making sure that each new layer covers half of the previous one as you work into a figure eight across the palm and around the thumb. Continue this until the bandage has been used up and the coverage is even from wrist to fingers. Always leave the thumb free unless it is the injured digit.
  4. Finish by securing the end with tape or a clip.
  5. When applying bandages to elbows and knees, start above the joint and work down, then back upwards to hold dressings in place or support sprains or strains, flex the joint slightly, apply the bandage in a figure 8 method, and extend the bandage a good handspan and a half on each side of the joint. In most cases, you would use an elastic bandage or tape to secure this type of injury.

Tubular Bandages

  • Tubular bandages are used to hold dressings on fingers or toes or support injured joints. They’re made of a seamless fabric tube or a netting fabric. They are also used as a base before placing plaster casts or fibreglass casts on a broken limb.
  • You can get elasticated ones to place over joints such as the ankle, knee elbow to give extra support. Tubular gauze bandages can be placed over fingers or toes but do not provide any pressure to stop bleeding on their own.
  • A tubular bandage comes on a long continuous roll and needs to be cut to size before use.

Triangle Bandage Slings

  • Instruct the injured person to hold their arm across their chest and support the arm while you work with their non-injured hand where possible.
  • Place half of the triangle with the point facing the elbow across their chest over the shoulder farthest from the injured limb.
  • Position their injured arm against their chest, pull up the remaining half of the triangle bandage over the shoulder of the injured arm, and secure the two ends around the back of the neck. Ensure that both halves of the triangle go to opposite sides of the neck before securing in place, or the sling will not work effectively to give even support and will create issues or soft tissue bruising on the neck.
  • Tuck the loose ends of the bandage in and under the knot to reduce pressure on the neck.
  • If you are using a triangular bandage to support a lower limb or make a large strip bandage, fold it in half horizontally to make a large triangle. Then fold the point back on itself to the longest edge. You can adjust the width of the strip bandage to suit the injury by folding it multiple times to get the desired width. This type of strip bandage can be used to secure splints in place on lower limbs, used as a tourniquet, or wrapped around the limbs to apply pressure on a wound or hold pads onto the leg to assist with pressure application.

Which Type Of Bandage Is Used For Hand Injury

Compression bandages in the form of elastic rolled bandages or crepe bandages are the best bandage to use for hand injuries. Elastic bandages include a long strip of stretchy fabric packed in a tight roll that adheres to itself but is not sticky. Compression bandages support the bones, joints, and connective tissues in the hand after injuries such as sprains, strains, and fractures.

Purpose of Hand Bandages

If you have injured your hand, wrist or fingers, bandages can reduce swelling, restrict movement, and provide support to the muscles, bones, and joints. Certain hand injuries may heal better when bandaged as it protects the injury and provides support that reduces movement but does not make the joint completely immobile.

Different Types Of Hand, Finger And Thumb Splints

Bandages are not the only way to support and strap an injured hand, wrist, fingers, or thumb. The use of splints is a common practice for sprains and strains that result from repeated use from sporting injuries like tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Splints come in all shapes, sizes and designs that are purpose specific for the injury site. The link will provide you with a website that shows the variety of items for information purposes only.

hand splint
finger splint

First Aid Courses Save Lives

If you have never taken a First Aid course, then now is the perfect time to enrol in one and learn how to wrap and strap injuries, perform CPR and save a life. Basic First Aid courses cost less than $100, and by shopping around on the internet, you can compare the Registered Training Organisations available to you. No one has ever taken a First Aid course and not come away with skills and knowledge that are applicable across the entire span of their lives, and many are surprised by how much is taught at a basic level.

Further Reading Material

This is the second article of six on How To Give Emergency First Aid.

The third article in this series of six articles is: How To Strap Your Knee.

Start at the beginning with the first article called: How To Give Emergency First Aid – Vital First Aid Courses