Discharge Instructions: Unna Boot

You will be going home with an Unna boot in place. An Unna boot is a dressing and wrap combination that is applied from just behind your toes to your knee. An Unna boot has a special medicine in the gauze that will help heal burns or skin sores and protect new skin. The gauze bandage is usually changed once a week or as directed by your healthcare provider. You will need to visit your healthcare provider to have the Unna boot changed. Here's what you need to know about home care.

Home care

  • It's normal to have some drainage from the Unna boot dressing. Don’t be alarmed if the drainage smells bad. The dressing pulls drainage from the wound into the dressing. The odor you smell is from the dressing, not the wound.

  • Don’t get your Unna boot wet.

    • Take a sponge bath to prevent getting your Unna boot wet, unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.

    • Ask your provider when you can take a shower or bathe.

    • Ask your provider about the best way to keep your Unna boot dry when bathing or showering.

  • Keep the rest of your skin clean.

  • Follow your healthcare provider's specific instructions for the care of any other wounds.

  • Don't stand or sit in the same position for more than 30 minutes at a time.

  • Keep your legs elevated as much as possible. Keep them on a pillow when in bed


Make a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider, or as advised. 

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Tingling or numbness in the injured body part

  • Severe pain that can't be relieved

  • A fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider

  • Chills

  • Fingers or toes have swelling, coldness, or blue-gray color

  • Unna boot feels too tight or too loose

  • Unna boot is damaged or has rough edges that hurt

  • Unna boot gets wet

  • Drainage from Unna boot dressing that smells different than normal

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