How To Use An Ace Wrap
What is it? An ace wrap is an elastic bandage that comes in different sizes. The wrap comes in a roll with metal clips, with tape to fasten it in place, or Velcro™ . The bandage may be from 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm) wide and 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 m) long. Elastic bandages can be bought at any medical supply or drug store. Your caregiver will help you choose the best bandage for you.
Why do I need it? An ace wrap puts gentle pressure on the tissue around an injury. The ace wrap also gives support to the injured area. Following are other reasons you may need an ace wrap.
- To help reduce swelling of an injured area of the body.
- To hold wound bandages in place.
- To wrap around an arm or leg splint during healing.
- To improve blood flow to a limb like an arm or leg.
- To hold cold or hot packs in place on a body part, such as an arm.
How is the ace wrap used? Usually your health caregiver will show you how to wrap the bandage. The following example may help you learn how to wrap a bandage around an ankle. These directions may be used to wrap the bandage around your hand, wrist, elbow, or knee.
- Hold the rolled bandage with one hand and with the other hand put the loose end on top of the foot.
- While holding the loose end, wrap the bandage twice around the foot. Be sure to overlap the ace wrap.
- After the foot has been wrapped twice, move your hand to the heel.
- Wrap the bandage moving toward the ankle. The bandage should be wrapped in a spiral way like making a figure 8.
- Leave the heel uncovered.
- Cross the bandage over the foot, moving upward, and pass it behind the ankle.
- Move the bandage down and cross it over the top of the foot.
- Wrap the bandage under the foot to complete the 8 figure. Repeat this one more time.
- Pass the bandage around your calf and start wrapping it toward the knee.
- Stop wrapping below the knee. You don't need to start coming down again.
- The end of the bandage can be fastened with tape or metal clips.
Tips for safety and comfort:
- Be careful not to wrap the bandage too tight because it may cut off blood flow.
- To help with blood flow, take off the bandage 2 times a day if OK with your caregiver. Leave it off for a few minutes and wrap it again.
- If the part of your body with the ace wrap feels numb or tingling, remove the bandage. Gently rub the area. Rewrap the bandage when the area feels better.
- If the part of your body with the ace wrap becomes cold or turns blue, remove the bandage.
- You may want to have an extra ace wrap. This will let you wash one when it gets dirty and have another ace wrap to use.
Call your caregiver If:
- You have pain or cramping on the body part where the bandage is wrapped.
- You have tingling or numbness that does not go away after removing the bandage.
- The skin around the bandage looks blue, pale, and feels cold.
- You see redness that was not present when the bandage was first applied.
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your illness, injury, surgery, and the ace wrap. You can then discuss your treatment options with your caregiver. You can work with them to decide what care will be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.