Frequently Asked Questions on Compression Wound Care

Compression Wound Care
How can I use a compression pump for treating ulcers and open wounds?
If your wound or ulcer is not infected, then you can use the compression pump on a venous ulcer or an open wound. Using the pump will help drain the wound significantly. Once you have treated it with the pump, clean and change the dressing immediately.
What is a compression bandage?
Bandage that stops the flow of blood from an artery by applying pressure is known as a compression bandage. Compression bandages provide sustained compression for the management of vascular and lymphatic conditions including venous leg ulcers and mixed aetiology leg ulcers.
How do compression bandages work?
Compression bandages work by pressing down on a wound to slow bleeding and encourage clotting to begin. One has to elevate an injured limb if possible, then clean up the injury, apply some antiseptic and then cover the injury. The bandages can be layered using techniques such as Putter cross bandaging.
Why you need compression bandaging?
In order to help with the problems associated with your damaged veins and ulceration, your doctor has prescribed compression bandages. These special bandages apply enough pressure to help the veins do their job better. This should help your ulcer to heal.

There are different types of bandages and your doctor will prescribe the one most suitable for you. The bandages can be elastic or made of cotton. They are applied over a layer of padding that cushions your leg. Research has shown that compression bandaging is more effective at healing ulcers than dressings alone.

Your doctor will be able to tell you more about the particular bandages that have been chosen for you. It is very important that you understand why the bandages are applied in the way they are and how you can help.
How long will my ulcer take to heal in bandages?
This varies. Some patients heal within a couple of months while others take much longer. If you are worried about your progress, discuss this with the person providing your treatment.
Why are these bandages different to others I have used in the past?
Some bandages (eg. crepe) cannot provide the correct pressure. It is important to use the bandages recommended by the person providing your treatment.
Can I remove the bandages if want to?
Your bandages must be worn all the time. When the bandages are removed it takes only a very short time for the pressure in the veins to build up again. This may result in your leg swelling, which will affect your ulcer healing. Your practitioner will advise you on washing your legs or methods to allow you to shower.
What if the bandages are causing pain?
If the bandages cause you pain and discomfort, contact the person providing your treatment as soon as possible. If you are unable to contact them, it may be necessary for you to remove your bandages. In that case, contact them as soon as possible.
Are there any alternatives to compression wound treatment?
There may be alternative treatments – you may need to discuss this with your health practitioner.
What is negative pressure therapy in wound care?
A specialized treatment that utilizes a sealed dressing over a wound, along with a medical grade vacuum device that creates sub-atmospheric pressure around the wound is called Negative Wound Therapy. It helps encourage healing and removes fluid and swelling from the site.
What is an Unna Boot dressing?
An Unna Boot dressing is a commercially prepared gauze bandage saturated with zinc oxide. This gauze is covered with an outer wrap to provide support and compression. It is used to treat slow healing foot, heel or leg ulcers by decreasing the swelling in the leg. This dressing may be left in place from one day to two weeks.
How to apply Unna Boot Dressing?
Your leg and wound will be washed before the unna boot is applied. An antibiotic cream, antiseptic or dressing may be applied over the wound before the unna boot is applied. The unna dressing will be wrapped from the toes to the knee. The dressing in the area of the wound may be three or four layers thick. It will dry in three to four hours but will never be as hard as a cast.
What is modified Unna Boot?
A modified Unna Boot has some advantages over the standard version. The modified Unna Boot includes a hydrocolloid dressing to be placed over the ulcer and under the gauze. The hydrocolloid keeps the ulcer moist and thus decreases pain, which helps encourage leg movement.

The modified Unna Boot is also available with zinc oxide paste evenly distributed within the compression bandage and some have calamine added. These substances enhance the comfort factor.
How long can I use an Unna Boot?
Unna Boots can remain for upto 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 two days after the edema disappears.
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.
Which conditions are not recommended for Unna Boot therapy?
- Diabetics with foot ulcers
- Arterial ulcers
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Buerger's disease
- Radiation ulcers