The Bandage Debate

The subject of bandaging technique and ettiquette can spark some fiery debates among equine enthusiasts.


The potential dangers behind “bad” bandages

Bandage bows are injuries to the tendons/ligaments on the leg that result from improper bandaging. The tendons at risk are critical structures required for flexing joints, and are located on the back of the leg. Damage to these tendons can be serious and cause long-lasting effects on performance. I’ve seen my fair share of bandage bows resulting from the use of poor quality materials, insufficient materials or benign negligence. Most times, it has resulted from a novice horse owner applying pressure wraps or standing wraps improperly.


90% material, 10% technique

When wrapping around a leg, if the tension as maximized back-to-front, it can result in excessive tension on the back of the leg..right where those critical structures are. If the tension (effort to remove slack from the bandage) is maximized from front-to-back, then the maximum tension rests across the front of the cannonbone where less “susceptible” structures are.


Standing Wraps

The common pressure bandage or standing wrap provides structured support and even pressure on the leg.

And what is the key material?

It’s all in the fluff.

Gamgee, combi-rolls and cotton are all materials that serve as “fluff.” They serve as a buffer, a way of preventing particulr area from too much compression. The material that wraps around the “fluff” are materials that create the pressure around the leg. The fluffy layer is insurance, ensuring that no matter how much tension you create in either direction, you won’t be able to put the constricting layer on too tight.

In other words, since there is no absolute “right” direction, you can rest easy in either direction so long as you have the protection of the fluff.


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Published by MorganDVM

After graduating from vet school in 2015 and completing a year long equine internship, I entered private practice as an equine ambulatory veterinarian. Like most people in the veterinary field, I have respect and compassion towards all species, with a passion for horses. My work-life balance includes roadtripping, hiking, succulents, aquariums and is made complete by my wonderful pets.

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