Sock Arm Bandage




Introduction: Sock Arm Bandage

About: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!

An easy solution to your emergency bandaging needs, without the pain of sticky tape in your arm hair.

Step 1: Scrape Up Your Arm

This is probably harder than it sounds, because you need to remember to get your hands/wrists out of the way when you fall. Falling while holding on to something (dinner, your child, bike handlebars, priceless art) can allow you to get a proper scrape on your forearm, elbow, or upper arm.

This instructable utilizes a fine example of road rash on the ulnar side of the left forearm just below the elbow.

Step 2: Apply First-aid

Clean your scrape: remove foreign objects, staunch blood flow, and apply the best disinfectant you have at hand. Once this primary care is done you're ready for a bandage.

If your injury is really manky and you have access to proper medical supplies, you may choose to use a more traditional bandage for the first day or two before moving on to the sock technique.

This injury was dressed with a proper first-aid kit at the site of the incident, thus the nasty tape-marks on the inside of the arm. After painful tape removal in the shower the next morning, we decided to bring out the sock.

Step 3: Acquire a Clean Sock

Steal a clean sock from your significant other. Make sure it's at least plausibly near the end of its life; wear near the toe is best, as you're going to cut it off anyway. It should be large enough to fit around the relevant parts of your arm, but tight enough to stay put. Try it out on your un-injured arm if necessary.

If you're a paranoid freak you could certainly boil, bleach, or otherwise sanitize your sock; of course, you're probalby not the sort of person to be making a sock bandage in the first place.

Step 4: Cut Off Toe and Turn Inside-out

Cut the toe off of your sock, and turn it inside out.

Why inside out? Inspect the picture below. Athletic socks generally have a looped, terry-cloth style interior; this is much more likely to stick to your wound, leaving fluff and making removal painful. Best to put the smoother side of the sock directly against your skin.

Step 5: Apply Your Sock Bandage

Pull the sock up your arm, and situate it to cover your wound. Ask for assistance in positioning the sock if necessary to avoid dragging across potentially painful oozing proto-scabs.

Make sure to put the larger (top) of the sock around your upper arm to maintain proper fit. The heel of the sock should go right over your elbow.

Step 6: Go About Your Business

Admire your handiwork, then put a loose long-sleeved shirt over it and nobody will notice. Even better, that oozing proto-scab is now less likely to bleed through and stain your shirt.

If there's lots of scabby sticking, just get the sock nice and soggy before (gently!) peeling it off. The shower works well for this. Let your arm dry out a bit and apply more antisceptic if necessary before replacing a fresh, dry sock bandage.

Your old sock bandage can be laundered for re-use.



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    21 Discussions

    To add to this low cost large bandage... if you don't have anything to apply to the wound (antibacterial cream etc.) after it has been cleaned, honey works very well... Honey has antibacterial properties (which is why it never goes bad) and was first used by the Egyptians for first aid ;)

    5 replies

    Whatever happened to using good old high-proof alcohol? It's traditional as well.

    Well I'm pretty sure honey burns like -no wait, that's ALCOHOL burns like holy heck, though I have NEVER heard of honey for anti-bac. I'm a bit suspicious. Let's let Treb try the honey first and see how well it turns out. I think I'll stick to peroxide.

    Actually, honey is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and has been used for thousands of years as a topical and internal antibiotic. It's even supported by modern research, and there are a few small companies producing medical grade honey specifically for wound care (the potency of the antibiotic action seems to be affected by the plants used by the bees - all honeys are antibiotic, but some are more antibiotic than others). So, yes, if you are out of antibiotic ointment, and you have honey on hand, give it a try.

    When Alexander the Great died (far from home), his troops preserved him in a vat of honey for the trip back. When I was an adviser for my daughter's science class experiment, we packed biological samples in honey, for flight on the space shuttle. The samples were perfectly preserved when we got them back a few months later.

    sad i have more tubes of antibiotic cream than anything else in my house....not one drop of honey......sad really sad, i like honey, good for lots of things.....sore throats ect. and great for breakfast........that causes real issues for me

    ???? What is the point on the "first aid' (cleaning of the wound) if you put a dirty sock on it. lol it just doesn't make sense.

    1 reply

    Eeek, i just put one of those tihngs on my arm like 10 mins ago, my dad told me it was the easiest way to protect my eniterly bloody forearm, then im just searching for pyro stuff and i end up here...freaky!!! nice idea though,

    lol @ Scurl!says: and remember meatballs don't bounce.

    This is awesome. I laughed out loud at the "steal a sock" part. Ah. You've made my day, canida.


    11 years ago

    Dude, this is an awesome idea!!! I just had a nice bit of road rash exactly like yours and had a hard time keeping the bandages from sliding off. I know professional bike racers get a stretchy cotton mesh bandage for the elbows and knees but couldn't find such a product in pharmacies. I improvised and covered it with one of those wine bottle plastic stretchy mesh things they use at the liquor store to keep the bottles from rattling and it worked ok, but not great. Your idea is MUCH better and cheap!! Caveat about ointments! A few years ago, friends from the bike club had recommended to cover road rash with Bacitracin and wrap it with cellophane (Saran Wrap). Idea being that it will stay moist and not scab. Well, after a couple of days I had an allergic reaction to the medicine and my skin REALLY turned into an ugly, puffy, bloody, desperately itchy mess!!! This time around, I used a new product for burn victims, these are patches that you apply to the skin and keep it moist to prevent scabbing. But they need bandages to keep them in place and the sock would be great for that.

    This is a grat idea for kids too. I just used this method (including aniseptic ointment and gauze) for my daughter. It holds great and I don't have to peel off a painfully sticky band-aid later :D.


    12 years ago

    and remember meatballs don't bounce.

    i use a similar technique that, IMHO, might work better. whenever i scrape myself up (which is happening less and less... finally getting the hang of this 'walking upright' thing), i use ur classic sterile bandage, but instead of taping it on, i use a length of pantyhose that i acquire from the dollar store. i simply cut it like like you cut your sock, place some sterile gauze on the scrape/cut, and then hold it in place by slipping the length of pantyhose over it. it holds very well and i find it not only makes removing the gauze easier, but it also helps the injury breathe a bit more and therefore heal better. as an aside: these elbow-socks are great at preventing scrapes in the first place (biking, ultiamte frisbee, football, etc.)

    1 reply

    great tip. And learning to fall correctly has saved my haphazzard ass many a time. Dont use the 'third limb' instinctive reactive to stick your arm or elbow out there. I know its not always an option but anything below the eblow is not designed for load bearing.. especially when you've doubled or tripled you body weith with a little speed. tuck your arms in make fists cross your forearms so your fists are either side of your jaw bone tuck your head down if your skating or biking, aim to land on your upper arm and roll to your back If you're falling from a height, do the above, bend your knees, aim to roll up your side and on to your back.

    note from a guy that's been there....maceration is your friend here....unguent every day; all the time....that is unles you like the crack/tearing of your own flesh every few hours.

    Its probably best to apply some gause to the graze before putting the sock on. Otherwise the scab will form in the sock and you're left with a loose dangly sock on your arm (assuming you shower) Also, I know we're all for hacking stuff together but antibiotic ointment really speeds up the healing process.

    at 1st i thought this was for emo kids