Guide for Unna Boot Application

What is an Unna Boot? 

The Unna boot is a compression bandage made of an elastic compression dressing wrapped around a zinc oxide-impregnated gauze wrap placed from the toes to the knee. The boot takes less time to put on compared to an elastic support stocking. However, if used incorrectly, it may result in localized purpura, cyanosis, ulceration, or necrosis of the skin.  

How is an Unna Boot Helpful? 

Unna boots are useful for protecting limbs from external stress in locations where it is challenging to maintain appropriate external pressure (such as the sides of the foot.)The timeline of the boot can be anywhere between 7-10 days and requires a replacement after that.  

Unna Boots may be helpful to frequently cover an open wound or ulcer. Your lower leg's blood flow is improved by the dressing's compression. It also helps in reducing swelling and discomfort. Until the wound heals, you might need to wear the boot for a few weeks. 

One can clean ulcerations only when the boot is changed. 

The ulceration will accumulate infectious exudate and debris if a secondary infection occurs, and the boot needs to be replaced more regularly (every 3–4 days.) Unna boots, when properly used, can benefit elderly patients, particularly those who are physically disabled and find it hard to apply wound dressings. 

How to Apply an Unna Boot? 

  • Wash and dry the extremity and place a topical dressing on the wound. 
  • Before applying the boot, you must elevate your leg over your heart for roughly 20 minutes. It will be beneficial in reducing your lower leg's edema. 
  • Put on a layer of petroleum jelly-infused gauze such as Covidien Vaseline Petrolatum Gauze over your wound after that. 
  • Start wrapping your leg from the tip of your toes up to your knee. Please make sure you are starting from the base and not mid-calf.  
  • A gauze impregnated with creams and medications to aid the healing of your wound forms the first layer. Then, use a layer or two of dry gauze. You can also have an elastic bandage around your leg. 
  • The drying process will make the footwear rigid. The boot may start feeling looser as you walk. 
  • As mentioned earlier, you will have to change your boot within 7-10 days, and every time you do so, clean your wound and monitor the healing process. 


  • The boot would is not a perfect choice for bedridden patients as its work is to contract the muscle to force one-way bicuspid valves open to moving fluids. 
  • Though the boot can stay in place for up to a week, if you see any leaks, it is suggested to change it immediately. 
  • If you wish to bathe with the boot, cover the dressing with a protector to avoid contact with water. 
  • You should call for immediate help if your leg is hot, itchy, your toes begin to quiver, feel numb, or change color. or if your boot hurts your foot or leg while walking, your boot gets swollen. 


An Unna bandage can be wrapped in a number of materials. The most typical top layer after the Unna is applied is a cohesive wrap that is four inches wide (for example, Coban.) This cohesive layer will shield clothing from the Unna paste and add roughly 15 mmHg of compression. Cast padding or an ace wrap are further options for a top layer. These have no benefit for aiding in edema reduction. 


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