Unna Boot application

Unna boot is named after Paul Gerson Unna who was a dermatologist. Unna boot is a special compression dressing gauze and is used in the treatment of edema, ulcers, sores etc. The bandaging is usually wrapped with zinc oxide which helps in healing the wound quickly. gelocast unna bootThe zinc oxide paste is better than the various other gelatins used in different dressings as it neither softens nor hardens the dressing.  It is important to note that glycerin and calamine lotion may also be present in Unna boots (ex. Gelocast Unna boot)


How to apply Unna boot?

Most people usually choose Unna boot to treat wounds which have light to moderate drainage like ulcers, sores and edema. However, most people don’t know about Unna boot application and apply it incorrectly rendering it useless. Here is the proper Unna boot application method.

  1. Clean your skin thoroughly using mineral oil. Don’t apply mineral oil over the wound.
  2. Position your foot at right angle to the leg.
  3. Now, start to firmly wrap the Unna boot dressing just above the toes. You must not excessively tighten the dressing.
  4. Continue to wrap the Unna boot dressing making sure that the heel is completely covered.
  5. Continue wrapping the leg with the dressing with each layer overlapping the other around 50%. Stop to wrap the dressing just below the knee.
  6. While wrapping the dressing, smoothen the dressing with your free hand along the way for better application.
  7. The dressing you applied was a paste bandage with glycerin, calamine lotion and zinc oxide uniformly coated over it.
  8. Now, coat the dressing with a soft Kling or Kerlex roll
  9. Lastly, after the dressing becomes dry and hard, wrap the elastic roll over the dressing in a figure eight pattern

An Unna Boot dressing may be kept on for about a week but no longer than that.

Unna boot applicationThis is the best way to apply Unna’s boot. However, you must understand that if any complications occur after applying it then your best option is to visit the doctor as soon as possible. You should report to the doctor or the nurse practitioner in case you feel any of the following after applying Unna’s boot.

  1. Numbness
  2. Change in the color toes
  3. Excessive swelling
  4. Excessive itching
  5. Pain
  6. Bad odor
  7. Drainage

Most complications only occur if the boot isn’t correctly applied and if you follow the right application procedure then you won’t have any problems.

Things to keep in mind before choosing Unna’s boot

Here are some of the things that you should keep in mind before choosing Unna boot for any wound in your leg. Firstly, similar to all other treatments, there are also some Unna boot contraindications and this means that the treatment may cause complications for some patients. The Unna boot contraindications include cellulitis, arterial insufficiency, pulmonary edema etc. So, if you suffer from any of these then using these boots isn’t advisable.

Moreover, boots like Gelocast Unna boots etc are not useful for bed-ridden or wheel-chaired patients as the dressing basically works by contracting the calf muscle inward and restricting its outward movement when a person walks. This increases venous circulation which helps in healing the wound. So, if you suffer from cellulitis, arterial insufficiency etc or are a bed-ridden or wheel-chaired patient then it’s better to use any other treatment method.

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