A tubular bandage is a knit bandage with a tubular shape people can wear over an extremity to secure a dressing. This type of bandage provides support for the soft tissue around the wound and is more comfortable to wear than other types of bandaging. Part of a patient's wound care regimen will include regular removal of the dressing and bandage, and replacement with fresh ones to prevent infection and cut down on odors and leakage. Many drug stores carry this bandage design and it is also possible to receive a supply directly from a doctor.
Many companies make latex-free tubular bandage products to address allergy concerns. Cotton and a variety of other fibers are available for use in the knit and the company may leave the material plain or dye it in a variety of colors. Some companies make a range of flesh tones so the bandage will not be as obvious and products for children may come with colorful designs like stripes or animal prints. The bandage itself is highly elastic, and usually a tube can fit limbs of a variety of diameters, although larger and smaller products are available for people at extremes of the spectrum.
The tubular bandage does not require pins, tape, wrapping, or other fastenings. It fits snugly over the dressing on the affected limb, without constricting circulation. Patients may find this more comfortable than a wrapping. Usually, patients retain joint flexibility with the bandage because they can still bend and straighten in comfort without worrying about irritation from the bandage. The tubular design offers even compression all the way around the site, and provides ample support.
People can use a variety of dressings under a tubular bandage. The dressing should not migrate, but people can tape it if they have concerns. If material starts to leak through to the outer layer of the bandage, it is definitely time for a change. Patients who notice an unusual rate of seepage, strong odors, or changes in the color of the wound should contact a doctor to discuss the situation.
If a patient is not sure whether a tubular bandage will fit, the package should offer some guidance about the diameter it will comfortably cover. It is important to avoid excessively tight bandages, as they can create health complications. If a patient specifically needs compression to prevent edema, a doctor will prescribe an appropriate product for the patient to wear.