General Treatments Wrists

How to Use a Compression Bandage on an Injured Wrist

If you have wrist pain due to a sprain, strain or medical condition like carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis, you may find it helpful to wrap the wrist with an elastic bandage in order to help alleviate the pain. Wrist wrapping is also sometimes done to prevent injuries when participating in certain sports. It is, of course, important to know how to wrap a wrist properly.

Step 1

Make sure you have a bandage of the proper length. If it is too short, you are just going to have to start the process all over again. Begin wrapping at the point farthest away from your heart. This helps to ease swelling in the lower part of the wrist, that can sometimes actually be aggravated by the process of wrapping, and it also encourages the return of blood and lymphatic fluid. So start the first wrap just below the knuckles, covering the palm, and extending around the fingers.

Step 2

Pass the wrap between your index finger and thumb, and then do a few wraps around the wrist, extending upward toward the elbow. This provides the best level of stability, and helps to prevent further injury to the wrist. Each wrap should cover about half of the previous wrap.

Step 3

Reverse the direction. Once you get to the elbow, keep on wrapping until you are back at your hand. If you started the procedure with a bandage that is too short, you can use two bandages. Just place the start of the second one a few inches over the end of the first one, and continue wrapping. When you get to the thumb, make a figure 8 and wrap upwards a bit more.

Step 4

Secure the bandage, using either the clips that were provided with the bandage or a safety pin. You may need some assistance in order to do this.

Step 5

Make sure that the bandage is not too tightly wrapped. If your fingers feel cold, the bandage should be loosened. You should also be able to wiggle your fingers. You want to be sure that the bandage is tight enough to provide support, but not so tight that it interferes with blood flow.

Other Considerations

If you are applying ice to an injured area, make sure that you remove the bandage first. You should find that the discomfort and swelling in the injured area will ease within 72 hours, but if it does not, you should see your doctor. Keep in mind, too, that if you are not sure of the nature of the injury, it may not be wise to self-diagnose and self-treat. Some injuries can actually be aggravated by using an elastic bandage.

Also, make sure that you remove the bandage periodically to allow air circulation to the affected area.