Unna BootIs a simple, old-fashioned way to relieve pain and swelling.

Unna Boot

Cast Cover, for showering









  • An Unna boot is gauze dressing filled with zinc paste, covered with an Ace bandage, which provides compression to a swollen ankle or foot. It was invented in 1896 by the German dermatologist Paul Gerson Unna.
  • Treat it like a cast:
    • Rest, and let your foot/ankle heal.
    • You can apply ice packs for 20 minutes every few hours if you’d like.
    • Elevate your foot above heart-level to help the swelling drain out. Unlike a cast, you can gently pump your ankle up and down to help the circulation.
    • You can bear weight on your foot as tolerated, use a cane or crutches to avoid limping.
    • Wear the Post-Op shoe whenever you’re up and around, for traction. You can remove the shoe for sleeping.
    • Keep it clean and dry. When bathing, cover it with a plastic bag and seal with tape or a special cast cover (from a surgical supply store or online).
    • If it feels too tight, even after 20 minutes of elevation, you can loosen the Ace bandage.
      • If it still feels too tight, or it gets wet, you can remove it and wash the zinc paste off your leg.
      • Call the office to make a new plan.
  • Follow up in 1 week to have it removed. Remarkably, most patients’ pain and swelling are gone!  If necessary, we can apply another boot for another week or so.
  • What’s next depends on your symptoms: Physical therapy?  Brace?