You don’t often think of physical therapists being involved in the treatment of wounds but they are well equipped to be on the front lines during the most critical stages of wound management and healing. They possess in depth knowledge of anatomy and tissue structure, are uniquely skilled in assessing and treating mobility and positioning challenges, and can provide education and instruction to patients and caregivers to assure effective and efficient treatment for your wound.
Wound care by a physical therapist is beneficial in:
- Non healing surgical wounds
- Traumatic wounds
- Diabetic ulcers
- Pressure ulcers
- Wounds from venous or arterial insufficiency
- Extremity wounds with edema
- Chronic wounds
What to expect from physical therapy wound care:
- Assessment, measurement and documentation of wound details
- Cleaning of the wound with appropriate cleanser
- Debridement(removal) of dead tissue
- Selection/suggestions for most appropriate dressing. In most cases, arrangements can be made for home delivery of dressing supplies from a mainland vendor. There are some limitations due to insurance requirements.
- Use of compression if needed. You may also benefit from referral to another therapist, skilled in lymphedema management, to assist with edema/swelling.
- Patient/caregiver/family education regarding appropriate wound care and dressing changes.
- Education in and management of negative wound pressure therapy when appropriate.
- Instruction in positioning, transfer techniques, and appropriate exercise to maximize recovery.
Every person’s situtation and wound is different. The frequency, duration and approach to care will be individualized. Your therapist will work closely with your physician and other healthcare providers to maximize the healing of your wound.