by Dr. Christopher Milkie
In today’s world, we are constantly looking for the next best thing. Do you have the newest iPad? The newest all-wheel drive technology on your car? Medicine doesn’t seem to be an exception to this rule. Medications are constantly in flux. What worked yesterday is old news, and today there is something better. In most cases, this is a good thing. We should always work to better ourselves and our techniques and instruments. We should always work to provide the best services available. Sometimes, however, there is something that stands the test of time, with no big changes needed. The Unna Boot is a great example.
The Unna Boot is a gauze wrapping that has been in use for over a century. It was originally developed in the early 1900’s by a German Physician named Paul Gerson Unna. Though the composition of the wrap has changed throughout the ages, advancing with modern innovation, the concept has remained. This specialty gauze bandage provides both compression and a supportive environment to help heal diseases like Venous Stasis Ulcers, and Ankle Sprains.
The modern Unna Boot is composed of gauze (a woven cotton wrap) that is made wet with a mixture of zinc-oxide and calamine lotion. The moist gauze is wrapped around the patients leg and then covered with a secondary dry bandage. The benefit of this system is that, with one device, we are able to accomplish a reduction in swelling of the leg, while providing an environment that promotes healing skin. This is a great combination in cases of swollen lower limbs that have dermatologic complications.
As medical professionals we are always interested in providing top of the line, innovative care for our patients. We pour uncountable hours into learning the newest technology and techniques to help heal our patients. But in some special cases, we get it perfect from the get go… and hey… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.