Compression therapy is used for persistent chronic oedema and venous ulceration. Compression makes the venous valves more competent, by reducing the reflux of blood in the veins of the legs. Compression bandages are either short or long stretch. Short stretch bandages are used for those patients that are active. Long stretch bandages are used for those that are less ambulatory. The application of compression bandages ensures the pressures created are graduated along the leg, with the highest pressures being above the ankle and slowly decreasing up the leg.
The application of compression bandage should extend from the toes to just below the knee. They are applied either in a spiral or herringbone ‘figure eight’ pattern, but they should all be applied with a 50% overlap.
Compression therapy should only be applied by a trained practitioner and only on patients where an ankle brachial index measure (ABI) has been carried out which has excluded arterial disease.
8.6 Treatment of wounds in diabetic patients