A tensor bandage is a long strip of highly tensile (stretchable) cloth that a therapist uses to wrap around a soft tissue injury like a strain or sprain.Other names for these products are compression bandages or elastic bandages.
Tensor bandages apply gentle compression to the injured area to help reduce swelling.They are similar to compression sleeves that are made to provide a custom fit for specific parts of the body, such as elbow or thigh compression sleeves.
However, elastic bandages can be used virtually on any part of the body and are therefore more versatile. In general, they are also more economically priced than most compression sleeves. Tensor bandages can be easily purchased at most pharmacies.
Deluxe vs. Econo Bandages
When shopping for a tensor bandage, you may notice that there are two types available – deluxe and economical.
Deluxe bandages use premium woven spandex and cotton in their construction. They are designed to provide uniform compression throughout the area of application. However, they are usually significantly more expensive than econo bandages.
Bandage Widths & Lengths
Tensor bandages come in widths of 2 to 6 inches and can be either single or double length.
The wider the bandage chosen for a specific application, the higher the compression you can apply without restricting the patient’s blood flow.
Use the smaller with bandages for application to smaller body areas such as the wrist, for example. They will also help you provide precisely targeted compression to larger areas.
The wider bandages should be used for larger body parts such as the shoulder or thigh. They will apply compression to a larger area without the need to use a long bandage.
A typical tensor bandage application to an adult arm or leg may use a 3 or 4 inch wide bandage. However, for an adult’s fingers or for a child’s arms or legs, a 2 inch wide bandage would probably be a more appropriate choice.
Some Advice About Using Tensor Bandages
Although tensors are easy to use, it is wise to be aware of and observe some safety precautions about their use:
Use tensor bandages only in the first 24-48 hours after the injury occurs. They will help to reduce swelling during that critical initial period. After that point, you will need to increase blood flow to the injured tissues as that will bring critical nutrients essential for healing;
Try to apply the bandage so that it fits snugly but does not cut off or restrict your circulation.If you experience any pain, numbness, tingling or unusual sensations, you should immediately adjust the bandage for a less tight fit.If the unusual sensations continue, immediately remove the bandage and consult your doctor;
Loosen the wrap before you go to bed. It should not fit so tightly as to interfere with your sleep;
Wash the bandage regularly, but avoid using a washing machine or dryer. Instead, hand wash the tensor bandage in warm soapy water and then rinse it. Then allow it to air dry.
Remember that, although the bandage provides compression to help reduce swelling, it does not provide the support your joint may need for a complete healing solution. As a result, you may still need to wear an orthopedic brace or K tape or athletic tape as a supplement to the tensor bandage.
DISCLAIMER: * Please note that, although Dunbar Medical distributes many premier brands in Sports Medicine and Home Health Care, we do not provide medical advice. As a result, we caution all users of this site not to regard its contents as medical, legal or other professional advice. Please do not attempt to use the information on this site to understand or treat any health or fitness problem or disease you may be experiencing. Instead, please seek the advice and assistance of a healthcare professional in order to understand the treatments or therapies that are appropriate for your particular condition.