Let me introduce you to a lesser-known aspect of physical therapy – wound care. Yes, you read that right! Physical therapists (PTs) aren’t just about rehabilitation and pain management, they are also skilled in handling wounds. This includes acute and chronic wounds, which can cause pain and inflammation and interfere with your day-to-day activities. It’s not just the physical complications; wounds can also lead to social withdrawal, an inability to work, and an increased need for care. This is where physical therapists can step in and help.
PTs are trained to assess wounds, establish a care plan, and provide interventions to aid healing. They can also address and manage the functional limitations associated with the wound. They play an essential role in educating patients, promoting health and wellness, and working towards preventing the development of wounds.
Discover How a Skilled PT Can Help You Manage and Heal Your Wound.
Now, you may be wondering why you should entrust your wound care to a PT, especially when the wound-healing process can be influenced by various factors. The answer lies in the unique skills and specialized interventions that PTs bring to the table. They can assist with managing both local factors (such as impaired oxygenation and infection) and systemic factors (like diabetes and obesity) that affect wound healing.
PTs can use a range of interventions, including debridement, pulse lavage, specialty dressings, compression therapy, electrical stimulation, low-frequency ultrasound, and low-level laser therapy, depending on the wound’s status and individual patient’s needs. Beyond the wound itself, PTs also conduct a comprehensive evaluation to understand how the wound impacts your daily activities and then provide appropriate treatments.
Imagine you’re an elderly patient with a skin tear. A skilled PT will examine the wound and provide suitable treatment, educate you on skincare, provide sleeves to reduce friction and teach proper mobility techniques to prevent future injuries. Likewise, a patient with a diabetic foot ulcer will receive education on off-loading, diabetes, foot care, and daily skin inspection, among other things.
We treat the whole patient.
PTs practice in different settings such as acute care, outpatient, rehabilitation, home health, skilled nursing, and sports medicine. They also can obtain specialized wound management certifications, demonstrating a high level of training. Therefore, if you’re dealing with a wound, having a PT by your side can help you achieve your functional goals along with wound healing. As Dr. Carrie Sussman, a leading physical therapist in wound management, rightly said:
“Treat the whole patient, not just the hole in the patient.”