Elastic Bandages: a Thing of the Past

Jun 30, 2019Tom Parker

Elastic Bandages: a Thing of the Past

Many of us are familiar with the RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) method of treating an acute injury, such as an ankle sprain. The compression component of this method is intended to help reduce swelling and inflammation, as well as increase blood flow to the injured tissues, tendons, and/or muscles. For years, many people have simply grabbed the traditional Ace Bandage from the medicine cabinet.

However, the advancement of fabric science technology through the years has made the good, old-fashioned Ace Bandage rather obsolete. Fortunately for athletes and patients alike, Body Helix is at the forefront of this fabric science movement and has much evidence to support why Body Helix wraps and sleeves are a more effective method than Ace Bandages in acute injury management. 


There are two components to high-quality compression products: stretch and strain. Stretch refers to the compression material’s elasticity. A compression sleeve that does not stretch as much as the body will either restrict motion or migrate out of position when the joint is flexed. Strain, however, refers to the material’s ability to snap back to its normal shape and maintain compression after a stretch is applied.

Compression is measured in mmHg, which stands for millimeters of Mercury, and is the standard unit of measurement for all compression garments. Body Helix provides medical-grade compression in the range of 20-30 mm Hg, and although an Ace Bandage can achieve this same degree of compression when wrapped tightly enough, the difference is in the strain.

An Ace Bandage will not maintain the appropriate level of compression needed for effective treatment of the injury.

Dr. Karl Fields*, a professor with The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Sports Medicine Fellowship Director at Cone Health System in Greensboro, NC, completed a research study when evaluating Body Helix products and found that Body Helix compression maintains the stretch and strain capabilities better than other methods, like an Ace Bandage.

“I a physics lab test to show that we can maintain that pressure level on a model that we’d set up—this was a senior project for one of the pre-medical students working with me—and we were able to show the product stayed effective for using it 24 straight hours — complete compression during that time.”

Ace Wraps, on the other hand, fatigue and they lose the compression quickly and do not maintain constant compression. There was a time when Ace compression was considered the standard of care but the advances in fabric science have proven that that method is no longer keeping up with the available fabric science technology.

Both studies and industry professionals agree that Body Helix compression sleeves provide longer-lasting and more desirable benefits of compression compared to the traditional method of using an Ace Bandage. Body Helix compression wraps are at the forefront of new technology. Specifically:

  • They are more comfortable
  • The material will not fatigue after hours of use.
  • There is no migration or movement of the wrap
  • The fabric stretches more than the joints on the body, providing excellent benefit to healing acute injuries.

For more information on Body Helix products, please click here. If you have any questions about which is the right product for you, please email us here.  We would love to hear from you!


* Dr. Fields serves as a consultant in Body Helix product development, although receives no compensation for his time and expertise.

Fred Robinson National Tennis Champion

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