Short stretch compression bandages are used to create the outer layer of a multi-layer compressive bandaging therapy system. While they look like common "Ace" bandages that are seen at various retail stores, they are much less stretchy. (read more)
Short stretch bandages are made from cotton fibers which are interwoven in a way that allows only for approximately 60% extensibility of their original length. When used to create an outer layer of multiple overlapping compression bandages as part of a multi-layer compression bandage, the "short stretch" capacity of these bandages creates an external force against outward muscle contraction, otherwise known as working pressure. Conversely, while the muscles are at rest, the resting pressure of the short stretch bandages is low, thereby eliminating constriction or the "tourniquet effect" which would otherwise hinder the normal flow of body fluids.
By using more layers further down a limb and fewer layers higher up, graded pressure is created, helping to move lymphatic fluid upward and out of an affected area. The multi-layered short stretch bandages also provide a semi-rigid barrier which helps to prevent the expansion of swelling or edema which is caused by an excess of lymphatic fluids in the case of Lymphedema.
Various foams and paddings may be used to help cushion the skin and distribute the compressive pressures created by the short stretch bandages, or to provide additional targeted pressure points when extra pressure is needed to help treat fibrotic tissues.
Having extensibility greater than 140% of their original length, medium and long stretch bandages provide little resistance to muscle contraction and they stretch as edema increases. Therefore, they have low working pressure properties and provide poor edema containment.