A bandage is a piece of material used either to support a medical device such as a dressing or splint, or on its own to provide support to or to restrict the movement of a part of the body. When used with a dressing, the dressing is applied directly on a wound, and a bandage is used to hold the dressing in place. General physician use other bandages without dressings, such as elastic bandages that are used to reduce swelling or provide support to a sprained ankle. Tight bandages can be used to slow blood flow to an extremity, such as when a leg or arm is bleeding heavily. Bandages are available in a wide range of types, from generic cloth strips to specialized shaped bandages designed for a specific limb or part of the body. Bandages can often be improvised as the situation demands, using clothing, blankets or other material. Bandages with predetermined levels of compression are available, light, moderate, high and extra-high performance. The type of bandage used depends on the severity of the swelling and how much pressure needs to be applied. For example, extra-high performance bandages are reserved for very large and swollen legs. Leg Compression bandages are useful if there are active ulcers as once the wound is cleansed and dressed, the bandage can be easily wrapped around the leg from the toes to the calf. Elasticated bandages provide graduated compression with the highest pressure at the ankle where it is most needed. Padding should be applied in strips over bony prominences to prevent excessive pressure.
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