Wound care doesn’t live solely in the physician’s office—physical therapy can have a great impact on functional ability long after the wound has healed. After an initial examination, the physical therapist will have a defined plan of care to work on any dysfunctions caused by the wound. How the wound heals is crucial to the patient’s long term health. Beyond scar tissue, tendons and bones may be involved in the healing process.
If a patient’s wound is not healing within a specified time frame—inflammation could be the culprit. A physical therapist can aid in decreasing inflammation and other barriers that may be in the way of healing. Wound debridement is the starting point: removing any foreign objects or dead tissue through dressing, whirlpool and cleaning of the wound. Ultrasound is commonly used to decrease inflammation, either noncontact, submerged underwater or with a saline medium. E-stim is another technique that can aid in the healing process that uses high-voltage currents to increase blood flow to the area helping with the regeneration of cells.
Beyond these techniques, the physical therapist can also decide whether or not the area should be immobilized to aid in the healing process. He or she can work on dressing the wound and teaching the patient about proper sterilization and home care. A physical therapist provides wound care beyond healing the wound itself. These musculoskeletal experts will also be concerned about the functional mobility of the area long after the wound has healed.