Buying Unna Boots? Read the Ultimate Guide to Unna Application

Buying Unna Boots? Read the Ultimate Guide to Unna Application

Venous problems, such as venous ulcers, as well as other venous deficiencies require a specialized touch when it comes to treatment. These ailments can be serious if left untreated and can become even life-threatening. One technique for treating these injuries is with an Unna boot. Created by German dermatologist Paul Gershon Unna, these can be the go to tool when treating venous issues or even burns.

What is an Unna Boot?

While it may sound like it is an apparatus that is worn, an Unna boot is a specialized gauze that is made of cotton and contains a zinc oxide paste. The main indication for an Unna boot is venous issues of the leg, but it can also be used to treat other wound sites such as burns or edemas. The benefit of zinc oxide paste in the gauze is that it does not harden or cake like gelatin that is used in other dressings. Also, it minimizes itching and irritability of the skin, therefore increasing comfort. These Unna boot gauze are commonly 4 inches wide and approximately 10 yards long. Some of these gauzes may also contain calamine lotion or glycerin. These can be effective in healing ulcers usually within 2-6 months. Yes, it can take that long so make sure you do it right.

Convatec Unna-Flex Compression Bandage Convenience Pack
Convatec Unna-Flex Compression Bandage Convenience Pack

What you should know before using Unna Boots

When a leg issue rears its ugly head and the best course of action is an Unna boot, what exactly is entailed? Where an Unna boot differs from a traditional gauze wound dressing is in the fact that an Unna boot is specifically designed to provide protection to the wound area and keep the area moist to expedite healing comfortably. So, how do you apply an Unna boot? Step one, as with any wound dressing, is to clean the wound. There are some tips to applying an Unna boot that include:

  • Start at the foot and wrap the leg up towards the knee. Be sure not to stop at the calf since an Unna boot is designed to be wrapped to the knee. This allows for swelling in the leg.
  • Proper application of the zinc oxide is critical since most patients will experience some swelling and you should be sure not to over tighten the Unna boot since these dressings can be worn for up to one week.
  • Be sure to have the patient’s foot angled at 90°.
BSN Gelocast Unna Boot Dressing Lohmann & Rauscher Varicex Unna Boot Zinc Paste Bandage
BSN Gelocast Unna Boot Dressing Varicex Unna Boot Zinc Paste Bandage

Unna Boots helpful Tips

As with anything, there will be a learning curve when it comes to an Unna boot application. With each patient being different, each individual wrapping may be different. When applying an Unna boot for swelling or an ulcer, there are three tips you may benefit from:

1. Take Your Time: It may take some time for you to master how to apply an Unna boot. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!!

2. Not Too Tight: If you apply the zinc oxide bandage to tightly, your patient may be unable to get around comfortably. These dressings are designed for the patient to move about and can be worn for up to one week, so be sure to leave space while applying.

3. Hear Your Patient: Each and every patient is different in a multitude of ways. Some patients may have a higher threshold for pain. They will be the best feedback as to whether or not the Unna boot is too tight or too loose.

There are a number of reasons you may apply an Unna boot to an injury or wound, but the quick and rapid healing of any wound is the main purpose. Some of these wounds, if left untreated, can lead to infection and serious health issues down the road. Whether it’s for a venous ulcer or a burn, an Unna boot application may be exactly what you need.


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