The Robert Jones Bandage
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The Robert Jones bandage is a common external splint applied to a limb for the temporary support of a fracture before surgical intervention can occur. It is used to treat many canine and feline limb injuries (e.g., tibial fractures, severe limb lacerations). It promotes healing by immobilizing the injured area, thereby limiting swelling and providing protection from secondary trauma. Compared with other padded bandages, the Robert-Jones bandage offers limb stability, tissue fluid absorption, and protection from trauma. Generally, most of the compression is lost after several hours to days as the cotton loosens. For definitive support of a fracture the bandage should never be on longer than a few days without reinforcement using rigid splint material.


Step 1: Using white bandage tape, place stirrups on the distal 1/3rd of the limb overlapping the toes and extending approximately an equal length from the end of the leg. Be sure to tab the ends for easy separation later on.

Step 2: Using a full pound of roll cotton wrap the leg moving proximally from the toes (tearing the cotton in half down the middle may aid in application). Overlap the cotton 50% as you wrap being sure to leave some overlapping the toes. This layer is wrapped lightly with minimal compression creating a uniform thickness the entire length of the limb. Note - half to two pounds of cotton are typically used for the bandage depending on the size of the animal.

Step 3: Wrap the leg tightly with a conforming bandage starting at the toes and moving proximally. This is the step where you create compression. Overlap the bandage 50% as you wrap. When finished this step the bandage should appear markedly thinner then it did when you first applied the cotton wrap and the toes should still be visible.
Step 4: Separate the tape stirrups, rotate them proximally, and secure them to the compression bandage thus creating a barrier and preventing the bandage from slipping down.

Step 5: Wrap the leg in vet wrap starting at the toes at an angle to cover the distal ends of the bandage and again moving proximally as you progress. Be sure to overlap 50% as you apply the material. When complete, the leg should make a sound when tapped with a finger mimicking a ripe watermelon all along the length of the limb.
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 Copyright © 2006 - University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, All rights reserved.
 Faculty: Dr. Robert Gilley
 Student: Randi Gold V'09