How to Immobilize a Shoulder with an Ace bandage

Gigi is up burning midnight candles and reading all about bandages and slings tonight. She is determined to top their examination on Monday, thus, her advanced reading. Reading further, she encounters immobilizing the shoulder and becomes intrigued. For such a complicated part of the body and being the part that is prone to be injured in a wide variety of sports, how does one immobilize it? Here’s how:

  • The first step involved (which should be done at least twice) is placing the ace bandage all around your shoulder. This will provide the foundation for your immobilization.
  • Make sure your bandaging is stable and secure. It will be best for you to begin at the top of the shoulder blades.
  • Secure the initial immobilization by wrapping the bandage around the injured shoulder twice. You will have to make it pass under your arms, keeping it snugly fit to your armpits. This should not be too loose nor too tight – too loose, you then fail to immobilize the shoulder, while if it’s too tight, you cut off circulation, preventing healing. Make sure you keep it as tight as possible without hurting the shoulder more. Remember, your objective is to provide a solid foundation for the immobilization.
  • After you make your second pass around the injured shoulder, take the bandage. You will then have to bring it around the back, and bind it across your chest. Wrapping the bandage around the body, you will have to pass under the arm contralateral to the injured shoulder.
  • After binding both your back and chest, bring the bandage back to the injured point of the shoulder. This step further immobilizes the injured shoulder by bringing it close and preventing any unnecessary movement.
  • As in the previously described step, you will have to keep it as snug a fit as possible without cutting off the blood flow or hampering breathing. Your wrapping must be SECURE and SNUG, but not TIGHT.
  • If you have a bandage that is long enough, you can provide further immobilization of the shoulder by taking the bandage one more time around the back and across the chest, and securing it at a level above the elbow of the injured arm instead of a point above the injury. This will provide another level of immobilization that will secure the shoulder in a more stable fashion.
  • Make one final run around the back and under the uninjured arm, and fasten the ace bandage in front of the chest with the provided bandage fastener.

Sources:

Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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