*Last Updated: July 2024

How to apply and care for Unna boots effectively

Are you struggling with proper Unna boot application and aftercare? We’ve been there, too, and we understand how tricky it can be to apply this zinc oxide-infused gauze wrap correctly.

Through our thorough research, we have managed to demystify the process of using an Unna boot for effective wound treatment like venous stasis ulcers. This blog will guide you step by step on how to apply and care for your Unna boot properly — ensuring that it delivers optimum healing benefits.

Ready for some practical insight? Let’s dive in!


Key Takeaways

  • Clean the wound before applying an Unna boot and make sure to flex your foot at a 90-degree angle for proper application.
  • Wrap the Unna boot from the toes up to the knee, using spiral wrapping and avoiding excessive tightness.
  • The duration of wearing an Unna boot depends on your condition, so consult with a healthcare professional for guidance.
  • Keep the Unna boot dry by covering it with a plastic bag while showering or bathing. Also, protect it from getting dirty or damaged when outside.

How to Apply an Unna Boot Effectively

To apply an Unna boot effectively, start by cleaning and drying the affected area before applying a thin layer of zinc oxide paste evenly onto the leg. Then, begin wrapping the leg with moistened gauze in a spiral pattern, starting at the base and moving upward.

Secure each layer with gentle pressure and make sure to leave room for movement of toes. Finally, finish off with adhesive tape to secure the end of the bandage and ensure proper compression is maintained throughout.

Step-by-step guide for proper application

We’re going to show you a simple way to apply an Unna boot. It’s easy when you break it down into steps.

  1. Start by cleaning the wound. This helps to keep it free of bugs that may harm it.
  2. Make sure the foot is bent at 90 degrees. This angle will help wrap the Unna boot right.
  3. Begin wrapping at the base of the toes, using a bandage soaked in lotions and medicines.
  4. Move up towards the knee, layering the gauze bandage as you go.
  5. Do not stop at the calf – wrap all the way up to the knee for best results.
  6. Layer with one or two layers of dry gauze on top of the wet one.
  7. The gauze should be snug, but not tight enough that it cuts off blood flow or causes pain.

Techniques for wrapping the boot

To properly wrap the Unna boot, follow these techniques for effective application. Start by flexing the patient’s foot to a 90-degree angle. This helps ensure a proper fit and prevents discomfort.

Begin wrapping from the foot up towards the knee, making sure to cover the entire leg with each layer of gauze. Use spiral wrapping to secure the boot in place, overlapping each layer slightly for added stability.

When wrapping, take care to avoid any excessive tightness that could restrict circulation or cause discomfort. The goal is to provide compression without causing pain. As you wrap, make sure there are no wrinkles or gaps in the gauze that could lead to pressure points or uneven distribution of pressure.

Remember, when applying an Unna boot dressing, it’s important not to stop at the calf but instead wrap all the way up to the knee. This ensures that both swelling and ulcers are adequately addressed.

Common Uses of Unna Boots

Unna boots are commonly used for the treatment of non-healing wounds and ulcers, as well as for the management of lymphedema.

Treatment of non-healing wounds and ulcers

Non-healing wounds and ulcers can be effectively treated with the use of Unna boots. These compression bandages are specifically designed to improve circulation, reduce swelling, and promote healing.

The Unna boot consists of a zinc oxide-impregnated gauze wrap that is applied from the toes up to the knee. It is important to properly clean the wound before applying the boot, and flexing the patient’s foot at a 90-degree angle can help ensure proper application.

The medicated layer of the boot helps heal the wound, while additional layers of dry gauze provide support and protection. The Unna boot does not need frequent changing, making it a cost-effective option for long-term treatment.

Management of lymphedema

Lymphedema is a condition where there is swelling in the arms or legs due to a buildup of lymph fluid. The Unna boot can be used as part of the management for lymphedema. It helps reduce the swelling and improve circulation in the affected limb.

When applying the Unna boot for lymphedema, it is important to wrap it from the toes all the way up to the knee, making sure it covers the entire limb. Flexing the foot before application is also necessary.

Remember to keep the Unna boot dry by covering it with a plastic bag while showering or bathing. If you have any concerns or need further guidance on using the Unna boot for lymphedema, consult a healthcare professional who can provide expert advice and support.

Duration of Use for Unna Boots

The recommended duration for the application of Unna boots varies depending on the specific condition being treated and should be determined by a healthcare professional.

Recommended duration of application

We recommend keeping the Unna boot on for about one week. This allows enough time for the medications and lotions in the boot to take effect and help heal the wound. However, it’s important to check with your healthcare provider to determine the specific duration based on your individual condition.

They may advise you to keep it on for a longer or shorter period of time. If you experience any discomfort or worsening symptoms while wearing the Unna boot, seek professional advice immediately.

When to seek professional advice

If you’re using an Unna boot and you notice any worsening of your wound or increased pain, it’s important to seek professional advice. You should also consult a healthcare provider if there are signs of infection, such as redness, warmth, or pus coming from the wound.

Additionally, if you experience numbness or tingling in your leg or foot while wearing the Unna boot, it’s best to reach out for medical assistance. Seeking professional advice is crucial in these situations to ensure proper care and prevent any complications that may arise.

Caring for Unna Boots at Home

To care for Unna boots at home, it is important to keep the boot dry to prevent mold or bacterial growth.

Keeping the boot dry

To ensure the effectiveness of the Unna boot, it is important to keep it dry. When showering or bathing, you should wrap the boot in a plastic bag and secure it tightly with heavy tape or rubber bands.

This will prevent water from leaking into the boot and causing damage. It’s also essential to clean and dry your foot before applying the Unna boot dressing to avoid any moisture getting trapped inside.

By taking these precautions, you can maintain the integrity of the Unna boot and promote healing without any complications.

Additional measures for home care

To ensure proper care of your Unna boots at home, there are a few additional measures you can take:

  1. Keep the boot dry: It’s important to keep the Unna boot dry to prevent any moisture-related complications. Make sure to cover it securely with a plastic bag or waterproof material when showering or bathing.
  2. Protect the boot: Avoid getting the Unna boot dirty or damaged by wearing an additional sock or covering over it, especially when walking outside or engaging in physical activities.
  3. Monitor for signs of infection: Keep a close eye on the area where the Unna boot is applied for any signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, pain, warmth, or discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  4. Follow any specific instructions from your healthcare provider: Your healthcare provider may provide you with specific guidelines for caring for your Unna boots based on your individual needs and condition. Make sure to follow these instructions carefully.
  5. Attend scheduled follow-up appointments: Regularly follow up with your healthcare provider as advised to monitor the progress of your treatment and make any necessary adjustments to your care plan.


In conclusion, applying and caring for Unna boots effectively can help promote healing and manage various conditions such as ulcers and swelling. By following the proper application techniques and taking necessary precautions for home care, individuals can maximize the benefits of Unna boots.

Remember to consult a healthcare professional for guidance and seek advice if needed during the treatment process.


1. How do I apply Unna boots effectively?

To apply Unna boots effectively, first clean and dry the affected area, then unwrap the bandage and moisten it with water before applying it evenly to the skin. Secure with a cohesive bandage for proper compression.

2. Can I shower or bathe while wearing Unna boots?

No, it is not recommended to shower or bathe while wearing Unna boots as they are not waterproof. Moisture can compromise their effectiveness and may lead to skin irritation.

3. How often should I change the Unna boot dressing?

The frequency of changing the Unna boot dressing depends on your doctor’s recommendation or specific instructions on the product packaging. Typically, it is advisable to change every 7-10 days or sooner if there are signs of excessive moisture buildup or loosening.

4. What should I do if my skin becomes irritated while wearing Unna boots?

If you experience skin irritation such as redness, itching, or rash while wearing Unna boots, remove them immediately and consult your healthcare provider for further guidance on alternative treatments or adjustments to the application technique.

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