Signs Your Bandage is Too Tight

How to Tell If a Bandage is Too Tight

compression bandage

Bandaging is a very simple first aid technique which can be life saving when done correctly, but it is a common mistake to bandage too tightly affecting the blood circulation to the injured area.

 

A Simple Check

  • Once you have applied the bandage ask the patient if it feels too tight
  • Is there any numbness or tingling in the limb
  • Is the area below the bandage cold or pale
  • Can they move their fingers or toes

Due to swelling it is important to re-check the bandage every ten minutes

 

Check Capillary Refill (Distal Circulation)

After you have applied the bandage take a look at the nail beds below the bandage. Check the toenails (if bandaging a leg) or the fingernails (if bandaging an arm).

They should be a shade of pink to reddish due to blood flow. (If they are pale or turning blue the bandage is too tight.

capillary refill

Image Source http://sambaco

  • Gently squeeze the nail until it turns pale and release
  • The nail should return pink to red almost immediately

If this process takes longer than 2 seconds loosen the bandage, there is a circulation problem

 

Check The Distal Pulse

The distal pulse is named so because it is a pulse distal to the injury – further away from the torso, below the bandage.

On the foot this is the pedal pulse, on the arm this is the radial or wrist pulse.

 

Checking the pedal pulse Read How To Take A Pulse

pedal pulse location

Location Of The Pedal Pulse: Image source MedlinePlus

If the pulse is very weak or not there at all loosen the bandage, there is a circulation problem

 

Checking the radial pulse Read How To Take A Pulse

radial pulse location

Location Of The Radial Pulse: Image source MedlinePlus

If the pulse is very weak or not there at all loosen the bandage, there is a circulation problem


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