Tubigrip™ – A Static Compression Therapy Option

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by Carmelita Harbeson and James McGuire DPM, PT, CPed, FAPWHc

Compression therapies work to restore circulation, reduce edema, and enhance tissue stability. With the myriad of compression options available, sorting through which treatments are best for each patient can be a daunting task for clinicians. This post presents an introduction to Tubigrip™, a multi-purpose tubular compression bandage and focuses on its utilization in decreasing edema associated with venous and lymphatic conditions.

Overview and Indications

Peripheral edema, or the swelling of extremities resulting from excess interstitial fluid retention, has many etiologies including chronic venous insufficiency and lymphatic system damage. Chronic venous insufficiency frequently leads to leg ulcers which may be painful, are often difficult to treat, and have high recurrence rates. Compression bandages are extremely useful in the prevention and treatment of venous leg ulcers (Nelson, 2000).

Created by Mölnlycke Health Care, a leading manufacturer of surgical and wound care products, Tubigrip™ is a tubular elastic bandage designed to provide tissue support and compression in the treatment of conditions such as edema, soft tissue injuries, and weak joints. Offered in two colors, natural or beige, Tubigrip™ is available in 1 meter or 10 meter long rolls and several different circumferences, ranging from narrow enough to suit infant feet and arms to wide enough to cover large adult trunks.


Tubigrip™ contains natural rubber latex and thus should not be used on patients with latex allergies. In addition, patients with significant arterial disease (ABIs <0.70) should not use Tubigrip™ or other similar compression bandages because of the risk of inappropriate application and possible occlusion.


Tubigrip™ can be fitted and applied in three easy steps. First, cut a section that is equal to twice the length required for the limb, plus an extra 2-3 centimeters. Next, pull Tubigrip™ onto the limb like a stocking. Finally, double it back over limb, ensuring that the upper edge is taken 2-3 centimeters higher up the limb than the first portion. After the initial application, no further trimming is required and the patient is left with a comfortable compression stocking that is simple to remove and easy to reapply, with no pins or tape necessary. Click here to view a two minute video demonstrating the application.


Although compression therapy is known to be one of the best methods for combating edema in venous insufficiency and lymphatic conditions, patient compliance to applying these therapies remains a challenge (Ramelet, 2002). Treatments that are uncomfortable or restrict patients' lifestyles quickly become unused (Raju, 2007). Tubigrip's design addresses many of these concerns. Made of Viscose, elastane, and polyamide, its elastic threads encased in the fabric distribute pressure evenly over the limb, allowing patients to move freely and comfortably. With swift and easy removal, washing, and reapplication, Tubigrip™ accommodates the patients' needs. The combination of these attributes may help to boost compliance and successful healing rates.

Nelson, E. A., Bell-Syer, S. E., Cullum, N. A., & Webster, J. (2000). Compression for preventing recurrence of venous ulcers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 4(CD002303).
Raju, S., Hollis, K., & Neglen, P. (2007). Use of compression stockings in chronic venous disease: patient compliance and efficacy. Annals of vascular surgery, 21(6), 790-795.
Ramelet, A. A. (2002). Compression therapy. Dermatologic surgery, 28(1), 6-10.

About the Authors:harbeson_headshot.jpg
Carmelita Harbeson is a third year podiatric medical student at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of West Florida in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. While earning her degree, she suffered a fracture that lead her to seek treatment from podiatrist Joseph Kiefer, DPM. The experience and the exceptional treatment she received piqued her interest in the field of podiatric medicine. With interests in wound care and limb salvage, Carmelita is the former Secretary and current Vice President of TUSPM's chapter of the Save a Leg, Save a Life Foundation. She is driven by a desire to serve others, and is committed to enriching the health and well-being of the community by providing compassionate care and education to patients.

Dr. James McGuire is the director of the Leonard S. Abrams Center for Advanced Wound Healing and an associate professor of the Department of Podiatric Medicine and Orthopedics at the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.

WoundSource ENEWS


There are a number of errors in the above noted article. The largest of these is that the device described in the article is a tube and not contoured for the shape of the lower limb nor is the device adjusted for graduated compression. Any such device has increased compression around the limb where there is larger circumference and smaller amounts compression where there is a lower circumference. This is based on simple physics known as LaPlace’s Law. Therefore the compression level at the midcalf is higher than that of the ankle which decreases venous return and could be problematic patients with edema for which the article recommends treatment. This is further compounded by the authors’ suggestion that the elastic tube should be doubled over proximally near the knee. The problem with this recommendation is that multiple layers of elastic material are additive, increasing the amount of compression force with each layer of the elastic material applied. It's similar to a 5 pound weight being added to an additional 5 pound weight which are equal 10 pounds. In this case assuming the tube applies approximately 15 mmHg of compression, doubling over the material beneath the knee would produce 30 mmHg of compression and overlapping it three times would produce 45 mmHg, etc. Therefore the material should be applied as a single layer to just below the knee or in the same manner in which is applied to the rest of the limb. Folding over or in any manner overlapping the material proximally is not advised. That principle can be held anytime an elastic wrap, tube, or hosiery product is applied to the limb. Adding multiple layers of material can cause tourniquet effect just below the knee retards if not prevents venous return.
One last point is that the levels of compression in the Tubigrip are not noted. To be effective the compression levels should be indicated and then be graduated such that it is highest at the ankle and decreases so that the pressure at the calf is no greater than 80% that applied to the ankle. Without having information on compression level applied to various limb circumferences and in particular that applied to the ankle one cannot determine the effectiveness as a edema reduction device. Lastly, and as noted above the device in question is a tube of consistent material therefore cannot possibly provide graduated compression and in fact will apply the reverse, increased compression at the calf compared to that of the ankle which would hinder possibly prevent venous return there by enhancing rather than reducing edema at the ankle.
We hope these comments are helpful as compression therapy in the treatment of venous edema is complex in that the textiles and resultant products involved vary tremendously as to their efficacy. Some of the reasons are noted above.”

Steven R. Kravitz, DPM, FAPWHc, FACFAS
Medical Director,
Carolon Health Care Products

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