Physical therapists act within their scope of practice to perform wound healing procedures, including sharp debridement of devitalized tissue, pulsed lavage with suction, electrical stimulation, high-frequency ultrasound, contact and noncontact low-frequency ultrasound, monochromatic infrared energy, laser, negative pressure wound therapy, ultraviolet light therapy, Unna boot application, short-stretch bandaging, multilayer compression bandaging, contact casting, lymphatic drainage techniques, and other interventions.
APTA's Guide to Physical Therapist Practice chapter "Integumentary Repair and Protection Techniques" further describes how the physical therapist provides "application of therapeutic methods and techniques to enhance wound perfusion and establish an optimal environment for wound healing by any of the following mechanisms: facilitation of cellular changes needed for wound healing, removal of nonviable tissue, removal of wound exudate, elimination of peripheral edema, and management of scar tissue. Methods and techniques may include debridement, dressing selection, orthotic selection, protective and supportive device recommendations and modifications, biophysical agents, and topical agents." Also available: a handout highlighting recent research on physical therapy and wound care (scroll down for access).
This APTA analysis provides background on PT interventions related to wounds associated with various conditions, as well as the PT's role in wound care across practice settings.