Stick with me, baby!

A brief bulletin from the medical-care wing of my daily life, letting you in on some of the events unfolding there, outside of your notice (because you really don’t want to hear about me whining about them).

Today’s unpleasant symptom is weeping sores (described by some as open wounds), on my lower legs and feet. Try not to be concerned about the causative factors, which are complex, and focus on the care, which for the moment I’m handling on my own, through what amounts to elaborate first aid: drying the sites, applying Bacitracin antibiotic ointment to them, and covering them with adhesive surgical dressings, held firmly in place by self-adhering stretch wrap, a truly wonderful medical invention — originally developed for the 3M corporation and sold under the trade name Coban (for cohesive bandage), with a variety of competitors made by other firms (Andover’s CoFlex, MEDca’s self-adherent cohesive wrap bandages).

Really cool stuff, with a variety of clinical uses and also easy to use at home.

Bonus: the classic stretch wrap comes in various shades of tan (ranging from light beige to frankly brown), but lots of companies make it in a variety of colors as well, as in this assortment from MEDca:

(with a classic tan in front)

Stretch wrap as an invention. The minimal Wikipedia article tells us nothing about the history:

A self-adhering [or self-adherent] bandage [or wrap] or cohesive bandage (coban) [or stretch / sports wrap / tape] is a type of bandage or wrap that coheres to itself but does not adhere well to other surfaces.

“Coban” by 3M is commonly used as a wrap on limbs because it will stick to itself and not loosen. Due to its elastic qualities, coban is often used as a compression bandage

Rooting around on the net tells us that the material — a two-layer sandwich of flexible fabrics — was the creation of researcher Jan Schuren (apparently a native of the Dutch province of Limburg), who has now retired but is still alive. But I’ve been unable to find out when Coban was first marketed by 3M.  Or anything about how Schuren came to his invention. Puzzling.

6 Responses to “Stick with me, baby!”

  1. Robert Southwick Richmond Says:

    Putting my doctor hat on for a moment – sounds like you’re on the right track here. If the situation doesn’t respond to your efforts, ask your doctor about referring you to a wound care center. These are a new development in medicine, and a good one.

    I’ve observed that a lot of them are run by retired surgeons. Surgeons usually need to step away from the operating table at around 60 – surgery is too strenuous after that age – but don’t want to retire.

    Surgeons are accustomed to getting things done.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Yes, a wound care center is the fall-back position. But I have so many other dire things going on with me at the moment that I don’t want to engage with further medical interventions. (And a prednisone prescription that I’m tapering off of is one of the contributing factors, so I’m hoping that time will improve things. That and monstrous dosages of Lasix as a diuretic. I live with a urinal always — literally — close to hand.)

      • Robert Southwick Richmond Says:

        I hope you have a good primary care physician to help organize your numerous medical needs.

  2. Stewart Kramer Says:

    Invention and marketing may be obscure, but searches with “trademark” find Coban has been trademarked by 3M since 2010; also, Canadian patent 1993, US patent US5939339A filed 1996, earlier 3M priority 1988, prior art 1975 in Norway, but no Dutch or Schuren info (not to be confused with Eli Lilly’s Coban, a chicken-feed additive to prevent coccidiosis [intestinal protozoan parasites], 1966 trademark still active 2021, or inactive trademarks possibly for two clothing importers).

    Sports websites copy the history of compression-tape usage (originally stretchy adhesive tape removed with scissors, replacing late-1800s plain gauze, until the convenience of Coban took over), and this version seems like a good recap with plausible dates:

    The invention of kinesiology tape is credited to Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor who created the tape in the late 1970s as a replacement for the stiff athletic tape that kept his patients’ joints in the correct position. During its early stages, kinesiology tape was popular in Japan’s clinical rehabilitation settings and was introduced to the U.S. in 1995 and Europe in 1998.
    It wasn’t until the London 2012 Olympics that the tape got global attention, during which many athletes were sporting the tape.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      As usual, I am in awe of your search-fu.

      • Robert Southwick Richmond Says:

        Thanks to all for informing me about Coban. I hadn’t given it much thought – my only experience with it is when I get blood drawn, that’s how they hold a bit of gauze onto the puncture site.

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