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. Some Unna Boots also contain calamine lotion and glycerin.
Unna Boots are used to treat edema, ulcers and sores. 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.
How is an Unna boot applied?
The boot is applied by a healthcare provider.
- You will need to elevate your leg above your heart for 20 minutes before the boot is applied. This decreases swelling in your lower leg.
- Your wound will be covered with a layer of gauze that has petroleum jelly.
- Your healthcare provider will wrap your leg from the base of your toes up to your knee. The first layer is gauze that will be soaked in medicines and lotions to help your wound heal. One or 2 layers of dry gauze will then be applied. Your leg may also be wrapped in an elastic bandage.
- The boot will become stiff as it dries. The boot will feel tight at first and begin to loosen as you walk.
- Every 7 days your boot will be changed and your wound will be cleaned and measured to make sure it is healing.
How can I help my wound heal?
- Keep your boot dry when you take a shower or bath.
- Manage your health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Walk daily to help the boot compress and improve blood flow.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods to promote wound healing.
Unna Boots can remain for up to 7 days before changing. If drainage from the wound starts to leak from the Unna Boot dressing, call us and we will replace it promptly.