Tips For Holding Your Catheter In Place

Holding Catheter In Place

Holding up your catheter, especially while walking around, is hugely important for a number of reasons. First and foremost you need to prevent any pulling and tugging on your catheter. Above all else you need to prevent that since it can not only pull the thing out of you, but cause you huge amounts of pain and possible damage.

You need a good way to hold your catheter in place if you plan to do any walking around. If you don’t do it right, things will start slipping down your leg and pulling, causing you pain.

So you need to secure the catheter to your body – usually your leg – in some fashion. There are a few different types of catheter holders, usually called catheter securement devices – available out there. They come in two main varieties: stretchy fabric leg bands with velcro that just stay on your leg sort of like nylon stockings, through elastic tightness around your leg. The other kind sticks directly to your leg like tape.

The Sick-To-Your-Leg Type

In the stick-to-your-leg category, I was fortunate enough to be sent home wearing a particular kind of securement device called the Zefon GRIP-Lok 3400LFC (LFC = Large Foley Catheter). It is basically a sticker that has two velcro straps on top of it. These work extremely well for holding the catheter in place while you are wearing a leg bag, especially if you have a Foley catheter, which has two outlets you can use sort of like a hook between the velcro straps. See the drawing on the left.  And of course they work well at night to prevent the bedside drainage bag from pulling on the cath.

In addition to the GRIP-Lok, there are a few other common stick-on brands, such as the Ventec StatLock securement device with swivel (see picture on the left). I have yet to try one of these personally but it looks terrific. However, if you don’t have a Foley catheter with two outlets, I think the StatLock might be troublesome.

For example, I was originally sent home with a pigtail catheter, not a Foley. Pigtails only have one outlet since there is no balloon on at the other end to inflate (which is what the second outlet on a Foley is for). Pigtails are held in place by the curled-over shape of the portion of the catheter that is inside your bladder, and in my case, a stitch through my skin as well. So even though you can secure the catheter to your leg, downward pressure such as is exerted by a leg bag can easily pull the catheter down through the hole in the securement device, especially as the bag fills up and gets heavier. Actually, this is true of any type of securement device.

In that case, what I ended up doing was wrapping a bunch of tape around the tubing above the securement device that was wider than the opening so it wouldn’t be pulled down through it. See my post Tip For Wearing A Leg Bag With A Suprapubic Catheter for more details, and illustration, on how I did this.

The Stretch-Fabric Leg Band Type

Just to test them out, I tried using one of the velcro ones today while walking around. All I can say is – oh hell no! I hadn’t walked half-way across the room before it had slipped down my leg a bit and started putting tension on the catheter. The only thing you can do is stretch it tighter, which works only a little better (I could walk across the entire room before it started slipping), but you can only make it so tight before it starts getting really uncomfortable and even cutting off your circulation. Now I realize there are many folks in the catheter-wearing community who cannot walk, and the stretch-fabric type of securement device might be preferable to you, especially if you do not like having something taped to your skin. But if you are lucky enough to be able to walk, I cannot recommend using one of these. Stick (no pun intended) to the other type. [update: I tried using a stretch leg band while sleeping last night. At first I thought it would be just fine – even better than my GRIP-Lok. But I woke up several times in the night with pain at the insertion site because the band not only turned sideways, but also worked its way down my leg a bit and was pretty loose. The bag was still hooked to the side of my bed, but the relatively heavy thicker tubing on the bedside bag was enough to pull on my “cath-hole” and cause pain. So all-in-all, I think that unless you cannot use the tape-type holders on your skin, the stretch-fabric leg band is not a great idea.]

There is also foam type similar to the stretch-fabric type, but I have not tried one of those. If you have, let us know how they work in the comments.

GRIP-Lok 3400LFC

As soon as I ran out, I tried to find more GRIP-Loks, only to be very disappointed. They are REALLY hard to find commercially available. And if you do manage to find them, usually on a medical supply website, they’re only sold in boxes of 100, costing $400-$500 dollars! I am trying to find a source for the 10-packs at the moment (Jan 2015). If/when I do, I will post the info here.

If you have any tips or tricks for holding your catheter in place, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!




  1. Howie says

    This website is amazing and I must say that I feel fortunate compared to other situations I see written about here. I have entered my second week with a foley catheter. While I certainly know the feeling of the catheter bag sliding down my leg from walking, here is a different perspective.
    My first catheter was held in place with a sticky tape. My next two were held in place with elastic bands.
    When the ones with elastic bands was put on, it was very uncomfortable and I was miserable. But over time it moved around and I was able to position it into a more comfortable position. I’m basically more comfortable pointing down, where the doctor (& nurse) put it on with my penis pointing up. If that were taped on, I never would have been able to adjust everything to a more comfortable position.
    The first catheter was put on with me pointing down, so while the whole thing was depressing, at least I had one less discomfort.
    In other words, the elastic bands are good because they allow you to adjust the tubes and bag into a (somewhat) comfortable position. If you are experienced, then I guess you know what that position is for you, and you can tape down the tubes.
    Also, you may like to change positioning depending on whether you are sleeping sitting or walking. You can do that with the elastic bands.

    • Ken Theriot says

      Thanks Howie. Good points. Thanks for your perspective on the matter! People can do both and get all the benefits:). You have the security of the sticky anchor if you plan to walk and be mobile. But you can easily unfasten from that and use the stretchy velcro if you are less mobile. Having had a couple of scary “near-misses” with sudden strong yanks on my tube, I don’t think I could ever personally trust the velcro exclusively. But it does offer advantages I hadn’t thought of – especially for folks who won’t be doing a lot of “normal” daily activity while catheterized.

      Thanks again!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>