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How can physiotherapy help chronic wounds?

Physical therapists are on the front lines of wound management in many healthcare settings, and treat patients during the most critical stages of wound care and healing. They possess in-depth knowledge of anatomy and tissue healing as well as mobility and positioning expertise. Specially trained physical therapists provide wound care to patients in the hospital and outpatient settings utilizing the most current and advanced wound care protocols. The wound care therapy staff will work closely with your medical team to provide the most effective and efficient treatment for your wound.

Who would benefit from physical therapy wound care?

Physical therapy wound care is for patients who have open wounds as a result of pressure, vascular insufficiency, trauma, surgery, and/or diabetes. The most common wounds that are treated by wound care physical therapist are:

  • Necrotic wounds

  • Stage III, IV or unstageable pressure ulcers

  • Diabetic wounds

  • Chronic wounds

  • Venous and/or arterial wounds

  • Extremity wounds with edema

  • Non-healing surgical wounds

What does physical therapy wound care involve?

Patients must be referred by their physician to physical therapy wound care.

Physical therapy wound care begins with a comprehensive evaluation and development of an individualized care plan. Common treatment approaches can include:

  • Measurement and documentation of the wound characteristics

  • Cleaning of the wound

  • Debridement (removal) of any dead tissue

  • Selection and application of wound dressing

  • Application of compression if necessary

  • Education of the patient, caregivers and/or family members regarding wound care and dressing changes

Available treatment modalities may include:

  • Ultrasound mist therapy

  • Electrical stimulation

  • Pulsed lavage

  • Whirlpool

  • Negative pressure vacuum therapy

  • Compression therapy

How long will physical therapy wound care take?

All wounds heal at different rates and the duration of therapy will be based on the patient’s individual needs. Depending on the type of wound and amount of care needed, the patient may be seen as often as daily in the hospital and one-three times a week in the physical therapy wound clinic. The duration of treatment can vary from one-several months. The wound care therapist will work with your medical team to adapt treatment to maximize wound healing.

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