We’re going to talk about triangular bandages. I will tell you three different ways of applying a triangular bandage. As the name suggests the triangular bandage is triangular in shape. It has a long edge which is a longest side of it. And it also has a short edge which leads down to the point.
1. Standard Triangular Bandage
Now when people place these on casualties they often get the orientation wrong. The short edge (point) goes to the elbow of the injured side. So what I’ll do is get my assistant to hold his arm as if it were injured.
Now what will happen is if someone has a break to their arm they’ll normally hold it in a position of best comfort for them. And whilst he already has this bandage on him, if it was fractured or whatever we would have already splinted it. But that’s something I’ll talk about later.
So we put the point to the elbow of the injured side slide this edge up here. The long edge goes up over the opposite shoulder like that. The low edge comes up over this injured side. And you tie it off on the shoulder of the uninjured side.
With the loose piece here (near the elbow) you can either twist it or tie a knot in it. These normally come with a safety pin. You can pin it up out of the way and it supports that elbow in place.
So that’s the first one and that’s a standard Triangular bandage. It’s also called a St Johns Sling. I don’t know if St Johns created it. That one is for a fractured arm or just getting the arm elevated.
2. An Elevation Sling
The other thing that can happen is someone dislocates a shoulder or breaks a collarbone. The shoulder drops and they are in pain. Their position of best comfort is generally to hold the arm up and support the elbow. So they will come up to you like that.
This is a really cool bandage. Again, long edge, short edge. The point of the triangular bandage goes to the elbow of the injured side. You can run it over the top but I haven’t had much success with that one.
It starts off very much the same. The difference occurs now in that you form a little pocket like that. Bring the bottom edge up and twist this bit here together (near the elbow).
Now bring this twisted edge behind their back and below their shoulder blade and back up towards the opposite shoulder. Then tie it up on the shoulder of the uninjured side.
What this does is hold this elbow up and hold it in position. Again as with the St John sling it keeps the fingers exposed so you can check for circulation there. It supports the shoulder and takes some of the weight off.
3. An Arm Sling
The other one that I’ll show you is not one of my favourites but definitely has its place. This is just your standard collar and cuff. It has its place in that you don’t need a triangular bandage to do this one.
Use a piece of rope, a sleeve or a jumper or whatever you’ve got. Even in hospitals they do this using strips of foam.
Roll up a triangular bandage and make a figure of eight. I have to do this on the floor. So one end loops one way and one goes the other way so that you get that “eight” shape. Bring the two ends together. Put the hand through the loop.
Remember, if this was fractured it would already be splinted. Pull the ends together. Again we tie it off on the uninjured side.
What’s Important About Triangular Bandages?
The main things to remember with a Triangular Bandage are …
You have a long edge and a short edge. The short edge or point goes to the elbow of the injured side and the other edge goes up to the opposite shoulder. From there the rest of it should flow fairly easily. You can also order triangular bandages online to practice with and stock your first aid kit.