A conforming bandage is a bandage designed to mold itself to the shape of the area where it is applied. This helps the bandage stay in place, providing extra security. Numerous companies manufacture these bandages and they are available in a range of styles. Medical supply catalogs and drug stores usually carry conforming bandages along with bandage scissors, dressings, and other wound care supplies. It can be useful to keep these bandages around the house for wound care.
A typical conforming bandage is an elastic knit material. Cotton and synthetic materials can be used to produce bandages and sometimes they are color coded and coated with materials that make them resistant to infection and odor. The material is designed to be self-adhesive so when the bandage is wrapped, it attaches to itself, but it will not stick to the skin. This reduces pain and discomfort during dressing changes by allowing for easy removal of the bandage.
These bandages are designed to be breathable, allowing air to circulate over the skin and around the dressing used on a wound. This reduces the risk of infection, inflammation, and skin reactions to prolonged bandaging. Some are also absorbent to pick up any leaks from the dressing. A conforming bandage will not sag or droop because it clings tightly to itself and holds its shape. It also usually doesn't require clips, tapes, or other devices to secure it in place because of the self-adhesive characteristics.
For basic wound care, the bandage can be wrapped around a dressing to hold it snugly in place. This can be especially useful for injuries on the hands, shoulders, knees, and elbows, where bandage tape alone would not work. The bandage allows some freedom of movement without allowing the dressing to slip, since it can be flexible as the patient moves. Conforming bandages are also used when preparing for casting, to hold insulating material in place, and they may be used to wrap a cast in order to keep it clean.
In veterinary care, conforming bandages are sometimes used to prepare animals for shipping. Horses especially have delicate legs that can be injured as they are transported. Wrapping the legs securely before shipment keeps the legs protected. Bandages may also be used while exercising and working horses to keep their legs clean and protected, although they must usually be removed for competition. Bandages for this purpose are available through veterinarians and feed stores.