What is a Conforming Bandage?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Conforming bandages may be wrapped around casts in order to keep them clean.
Conforming bandages may be wrapped around casts in order to keep them clean.

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.

Most medical supply stores or drug stores sell conforming bandages.
Most medical supply stores or drug stores sell conforming bandages.

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.

For basic wound care, a conforming bandage can be wrapped around a dressing to hold it snugly in place.
For basic wound care, a conforming bandage can be wrapped around a dressing to hold it snugly in place.

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.

Bandages for horses may be used during exercise to keep their legs protected.
Bandages for horses may be used during exercise to keep their legs protected.

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.

Conforming bandages are both breathable and absorbent.
Conforming bandages are both breathable and absorbent.

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.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

Clairdelune

I just bought some of those conforming gauze bandages. They come in nice big rolls and aren't too expensive. They'll be great to have on hand with three teenage boys. In fact, I already used one on a son, and it worked great.

They are made of rayon-cotton weave and are good for hard to wrap areas. They have one way stretch with memory and will accommodate some swelling. My son said that they were very comfortable.

sweetPeas

What a great idea. I have never heard or seen these. It looks like they come in all shapes and sizes. They are stretchy bandages made from cotton and polyester.

They really conform to the shape of different parts of the body. The bandages are very absorbent so blood won't be leaking out. They hold to all body parts and leave room for movement I'm going to have to get some in various sizes

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    • Conforming bandages may be wrapped around casts in order to keep them clean.
      By: maska82
      Conforming bandages may be wrapped around casts in order to keep them clean.
    • Most medical supply stores or drug stores sell conforming bandages.
      By: Vivian Seefeld
      Most medical supply stores or drug stores sell conforming bandages.
    • For basic wound care, a conforming bandage can be wrapped around a dressing to hold it snugly in place.
      By: wellphoto
      For basic wound care, a conforming bandage can be wrapped around a dressing to hold it snugly in place.
    • Bandages for horses may be used during exercise to keep their legs protected.
      By: chelle129
      Bandages for horses may be used during exercise to keep their legs protected.
    • Conforming bandages are both breathable and absorbent.
      By: casanowe
      Conforming bandages are both breathable and absorbent.