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How to Apply Shoulder-Injury Compression Wraps

Shoulder injuries can be caused by repetitive stress, trauma or improper form during sports activities and exercise. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends compression, in addition to rest, ice and elevation, to relieve the symptoms and encourage healing. Wrapping with a compression bandage encourages blood flow and also immobilizes the joint to prevent further injury. Available at most chain drug stores, compression bandages come in a variety of sizes. A friend or physical therapist can help you apply a compression wrap to your shoulder.

  1. Have the injured party sit in a chair with his arm resting on a table.

  2. Place the end of the compression bandage on the shoulder blade, under the affected shoulder.

  3. Wrap the bandage twice, over the shoulder and under the arm pit. Wrap the bandage twice down the bicep, toward the elbow, then back toward the shoulder.

  4. Wrap the bandage twice around the upper chest. The bandage should be snug but not so tight that the person is unable to breathe.

  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you run out of bandage. Secure the end of the bandage with clips or a safety pin.


    Use a sling to further immobilize the arm. Apply ice on top of the wrapping to help reduce swelling.


    Remove and re-wrap the bandage if you experience tingling or numbness in your arm, hand or fingers. Consult your physician if the pain continues for more than a week.

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Things Needed

  • Large compression bandage
  • Bandage clips or safety pins
  • Sling
  • Ice

About the Author

Julia Michelle has been writing professionally since January 2009. Her specialties include massage therapy, computer tech support, land and aquatic personal training, aquatic group fitness and Reiki. She has an Associate in Applied Science from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in integrative medical massage therapy.

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