In the State of New York, Wound Management is within the scope of practice for Physical Therapists. They are able to manage a variety of wound etiologies including but not limited to:
- Vascular Insufficiency-Arterial, Venous and Lymphedema
- Pressure injuries
- Diabetic foot injuries
- Burn injuries
- Traumatic injuries
- Surgical complications and other chronic wound conditions that have failed to heal.
With Wound Management, Physical Therapists are able to evaluate the wound, set up a plan of care, implement their interventions, monitor the wound’s progress, and address the functional impairments affected by the wound. Some of the skilled interventions they are able to provide include wound bed preparation though mechanical means such as sharp excisional debridement, scrubbing and hydrotherapy. They can provide dressing recommendations to facilitate healing. They educate the patient and their caregivers in how to manage the wound and their well being.
Modalities that can facilitate healing include:
- Electrical stimulation
- Cold laser
- Photo therapy (ultraviolet and infrared)
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Negative pressure wound therapy
Physical Therapists also manage soft tissue swelling with compression therapy as commonly found with patients with venous insufficiency or lymphedema. Patients with diabetes can also benefit with the expertise of a therapist by their ability to apply total contact casting, appropriate shoe wear and orthotic recommendations.