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What Is An Unna Boot? What Are Unna Boots Used To Treat? How do I apply an Unna Boot Dressing? How long do I use an Unna Boot? Is there anyone who should not use an Unna Boot? Can I wear socks or shoes while wearing an Unna Boot Dressing?

Common Unna Boot Questions

What Is An Unna Boot?

Unna Boots are named after a German dermatologist, Paul Gerson Unna. Dr. Unna specialized in diagnosing and treating diseases of the skin. The Unna Boot itself is a compression dressing, usually made of cotton, that has a zinc oxide paste applied uniformly to the entire bandage. The zinc oxide paste in the Unna Boot helps ease skin irritation and keeps the area moist. The zinc promotes healing within wound sites, making it useful for burns and ulcers. Zinc oxide paste is superior to gelatins used in other dressings, because it does not harden or cake. Some Unna Boots also contain calamine lotion and glycerin. Vitality Medical carries several different brands of Unna Boots including: Western Medical's Primer Modified Unna Boot Dressing, BSN-Jobst's Gelocast Unna Boot Dressing, Kendall's Tenderwrap Unna Boot and ConvaTec's Unna Flex Elastic Unna Boot.
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What Are Unna Boots Used To Treat?

Unna Boots are used to treat edema, ulcers and sores. Unna Boots provide between 20-30 mmHg in pressure, making them useful in a variety of wounds. In general, Unna Boots are used to treat wounds with light to moderate drainage and sometimes used with hydrogel dressings. Unna Boots are more commonly used for patients who are active and can move on their own, as opposed to patients who are confined to a wheelchair or bed.
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Which Unna Boot Dressing Should I Get?

The type of Unna Boot dressing needed depends on what type of injury is being treated. If the wound has a high drainage, or you don't want to change the dressing daily, use Smith & Nephew's Profore four bandage pack. Because the Profore bandage does not require constant changing, it can be more cost-effective than other bandages. If you or the patient have an physically active lifestyle, use Coloplast CircAid Thera Boot Compression System, which uses interlocking velcro bands to provide an adjustable fit. These bands are machine washable and reusable, but doesn't lose its effectiveness over time. For injuries that need higher compression, use Convactec's Surepress High Compression Bandage over the primary dressing. For situations in which you don't want the Unna Boot to become semi-rigid, use Convactec's Unna Flex Elastic Unna Boot. The Unna Flex is also available in a Venous Ulcer Kit, which comes with four self-adhesive bandages.
Also consider whether to you want calamine in your Unna Boot. Calamine helps reduce itching, pain and skin irritation, and costs only slightly more. The Primer Unna Boot and Tenderfoot Unna Boot are available with or without calamine. The Gelocast Unna Boot is only available with calamine and the Unna Flex Unna Boot is only available without calamine.
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How do I apply an Unna Boot Dressing?

Begin wrapping the leg with the Unna Boot dressing behind the first metatarsal(about two inches from the tip of the toe, just before the foot starts to curve). As you wrap, add pleats or tucks to the Unna Boot dressing for easier application. You may also use a figure-eight pattern of wrapping to apply the Unna Boot. Stop wrapping the leg at the tibial tubercle (about an inch below the knee).
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How long do I use an Unna Boot?

Unna Boots can remain for up to 7 days before changing. If drainage from the wound starts to leak from the Unna Boot dressing, be sure to replace it promptly. The Unna Boot should remain on for 2 days after the edema disappears.
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Is there anyone who should not use an Unna Boot?

If you have a wound that has undermining or tunneling should not use an Unna Boot. Do not shower or use a bath tub while wearing an Unna Boot, unless a covering, like Xerosox's Half Leg Cast Protector, is used. Unna Boots tend to be less effective for bed-ridden or wheelchair patients; other options may be more effective.
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Can I wear socks or shoes while wearing an Unna Boot Dressing?

Yes, you should be able to wear regular socks and shoes while wearing an Unna Boot dressing. If you are unable to do so, try wearing a wider shoe or slipper with the Unna Boot Dressing.
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Sources Venous Ulcer Treatments Family Practioner's Notebook Who named it - Paul Gerson Unna Compression Treatment for Chronic Venous Insufficiency Western Journal of Medicine - Using an Unna's Boot in treating ligamentous ankle injuries Medscape Calamine (Topical) Pharmasave - Library