General Info


Diagnosis


Intervention


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General information



Article provided by Barbara Dangerfield, PT

Physical therapy (PT) wound management services encompasses the treatment of open wounds from various causes such as trauma, surgery or underlying medical problems. PT's in this specialty area may also address problems such as severe swelling (edema) or bruising (soft tissue injury) and scars that result from wound, particularly burns.

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Diagnosis

Who needs PT wound management services? People with:

  • Burns - particularly if blisters form or if the burn involves the hands, face, feet or genitals, etc.

  • Open wounds that have failed to heal within a reasonable amount of time or wounds that repeatedly heal and reopen.
  • Very large open wounds.
  • Open wounds who have a history of wound healing problems.
  • Open wounds who are at risk for wound healing complications due to medical problems such as diabetes, immunosuppressed condition, immobility or circulatory problems.
  • Difficulty performing everyday activities due to a wound, scar or severe swelling.

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Intervention

PT treatment for an open wound might include:

  • Cleansing of the wound to help soften any dead tissue in the wound.

  • Debridement, or removal of dead tissue, with instruments, dressings or topical medication.
  • Modalities such as electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound or pulsed electromagnetic fields to aid in wound healing.
  • Compression devices to help reduce swelling and scarring.
  • Topical agents and dressings to promote an optimal environment for healing.
  • Exercise to restore mobility and function.
  • Ambulation training, with or without devices such as a walker or cane, to reduce pressure on foot or leg wounds during wound healing.

The number and frequency of PT treatments will depend on factors such as: type of wound, size, complications (such as wound infection), co-existing medical problems and response to treatment.

High quality wound care services typically do not include the prolonged use of whirlpools or topical solutions which can be toxic to wounds such as povidoneiodine, acetic acid or sodium hypochlorite.

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