Compression Wraps for Swelling
The Many Uses of Compression Wraps
Compression wraps or bandages are often recommended for therapy as part of the gold standard of first aid care for acute injury such as sprains or strains — the RICE therapy. However, the benefits of compression therapy go beyond Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation or the management of acute injury. In certain conditions such as those involving lymphatic, venous, or sickle cell disorders, compression therapy has many uses.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of physical activity, circulation and compression wrap, as well as the benefits of compression when there is an inflammation, and some pointers to consider when using compression wraps.
The Importance of Physical Activity
The proper distribution of oxygen to the entire body plays a crucial role in general health. The blood continuously carries the oxygen as well as other nutrients that aid in healing and reduction of edema or swelling.
The human heart pumps blood out to different parts of the body through the blood vessels. Circulation works best with the right amount of exercise and movement. When a person moves or exercises, the heart contracts at a higher rate, increasing the volume of blood that runs throughout the body, improving circulation.
Circulation and Compression Wraps
Compression wraps improve the stagnant blood flow in an area and promote fluid build-up drainage in the muscles. Studies show that compression helps reduce lactic acid accumulation (the cause of pain in muscles) after exercise and in some cases, improve the performance of athletes or marathon runners. It has been found that compression socks also aid in promoting functional recovery times after exercise.
How Does Compression Wrap Help With Swelling or Inflammation
Compression therapy or the use of compression garments and wraps work by squeezing the affected part (ex. legs) in a good way. By compression, edema can be reduced because it promotes venous return to the heart. Venous return is the medical term for the rate of blood flow back to the heart. If the return of blood flow to the heart is slow, there is an increased chance of blood pooling to the affected area. For instance, if your right leg is swelling, and you are not using compression wraps or bandages, gravity, and blood flow to the affected leg will make the swelling worse.
Compression wraps also facilitate the translocation of the liquid due to edema away from the site of injury. As the wrap squeezes the area, the edema is pushed towards the nonedematous tissues (the areas that are not compressed) where it can be resolved more efficiently by the body’s drainage system called the lymphatic system.
However, like with other treatment modalities, there is a limit to how long you should use compression in an injury. As we have discussed, compressing an area squeezes and limits blood flow to the site. If you compress a limb for a long time, there will be not enough blood flow in the area.
Who Should Use Compression Wraps
Who should use compression wraps? The answer is simple — anyone who wants to reduce swelling.
As we have discussed, compression wraps are effective in reducing swelling as well as minimizing the signs and symptoms that are related to venous insufficiency. When there is venous insufficiency, the blood flows in the wrong way, instead of going back to the heart for re-oxygenation.
Anyone who spends extended hours standing, sitting, driving, walking, or running should wear compression garments since they are prone to swelling or leg edema. No one has to wait and see the visible signs of edema or vein problems before enjoying the health benefits of compression therapy.
Do’s and Don’ts of Using Compression Wraps
The use of compression wrap is an excellent strategy for the management of inflammation, but it is not without risk or possible complications. The risks, on the other hand, can be minimized if the compression wraps are used accordingly.
- Assess the area before, during, and after using the compression wraps
- Wear comfortable clothing and footwear
- Move and exercise as tolerated – staying active will help reduce inflammation
- Change compression wraps as needed
- If the compression wraps results in any pain or if you notice any change on the skin color, remove the compression wrap, and talk to your health care provider
- Take preventive measures if you will be using compression wraps for extended periods (ex. Traveling for a couple of hours)
- Eat a well-balanced diet to promote faster healing
- Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages
- Keep the affected site clean and dry
While wearing compression garments or wraps, do not:
- Use the compression wrap in a way that it causes or intensifies the pain in the affected area
- Compromise the affected leg (ex. Wearing high-heeled or restrictive shoes)
Compression wraps or compression bandages do an excellent job against inflammation. They help keep the swelling down and allow you to remain active without the fuss of swelling complications.
SealSkin Medical Wrap and Inflammation
Sealskin is a transparent medical wrap that is stretchable and gentle to skin or hair. Unlike traditional bandages, SealSkin is also waterproof. You can use it to waterproof a cast or bandage, as well as use it for wound care. It protects and secures while reducing the discomfort of the healing process.
With SealSkin, you won’t have to worry about getting your compression bandage wet or dirty. It also keeps bandages in place, giving you more control during any physical activity.
Compared to other conventional medical wraps, the SealSkin is not excessively sticky, so you won’t have to worry about removing tape adhesives.