Tubular bandages are versatile, widely available and easy to use without restricting movement. They provide support and some compression for sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries. They are also used to support weak or hypermobile joints that may be prone to full or partial dislocation (subluxation). They do not provide enough support to completely prevent injury or subluxations/dislocations, but are very effective to help reduce both pain and swelling after minor soft tissue injuries.

The Ergohacks Verdict

Tubigrip is a leading brand and readily available for purchase from chemists, supermarkets and Amazon. We use them frequently for both acute joint injuries as well as chronic pain caused by joint instability. They’re a highly valued component of our first aid kit at home and when traveling.

 

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Design

Tubular bandages apply constant even support to the area where they are applied. Compression is one of the four steps of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) for an acute injury and for recurring minor injuries, wearing a tubular bandage during the day when carrying out activities has the advantage of both providing some protection against injury as well as immediately applying pressure when an injury or instability occurs.

They are a cost-effective way to self manage minor injuries and are breathable, reusable and machine washable. Tubular bandages come in different sizes. Measure the circumference of the area where you want to apply it and purchase the correct size. There are even tubular bandages for fingers.

Although minor injuries can safely be self treated at home, it is important to see a medical professional if needed. The NHS recommends to consult your GP or visit a minor injuries unit (MIU) “if you think you have a sprain or strain and:

  • the pain is particularly severe
  • you cannot move the injured joint or muscle
  • you cannot put any weight on the injured limb, or it gives way when you try to use it
  • the injured area looks crooked or has unusual lumps or bumps (other than swelling)
  • you have numbness, discolouration or coldness in any part of the injured area
  • the symptoms have not started to improve within a few days of self-treatment”

Tubular bandages are manufactured from a blend of cotton, nylon or polyester and a stretchy fabric like elastane. There are two types, look for elastic tubular bandages. Latex used to be popular, but has recently been removed due to the prevalence of latex allergies in most brands. Be sure to check that the product is latex free if you have an allergy to latex.

 We based our Ergohacks Verdict on years of using Tubigrip elasticated tubular bandages. This article was first published on 17 September 2014 and last updated on 28 June 2017.