How to change dressings – for foot wounds (COVID-19)

How to change dressings.jpgThis information will help you when you are changing your dressing. You will only have been issued this leaflet if your podiatrist feels it is necessary for you to change your own dressings in between appointments.


You have been seen in podiatry for management of your wound. The dressing will need to be changed by yourself regularly (your podiatrist will tell you how often) to ensure that it is kept clean and so you can monitor for infection. If you are helping someone else to change their dressings, tell them what you are doing at each step.


  • Wash hands well with liquid soap and water, then dry thoroughly with a clean towel/ kitchen roll.
  • Use disposable gloves if available.
  • Gently remove old dressing. Do not worry if the wound bleeds. This can be expected and should stop by itself. If not, do not worry, elevate your leg for 30 minutes. Contact 111 if the bleeding continues.
  • If the dressing is stuck to the wound do not pull it off. Soak the dressing off in a salt foot bath for a maximum of five minutes with boiled water that has been cooled.
  • One tablespoon of table salt per one pint of water in a clean bowl.
  • Do not touch the wound.
  • If you have been given special wound cleaning fluid please use as directed by your podiatrist.
  • You will have been given specific dressings for your wound. Try not to use any other dressings.
  • Hold the dressing at the edges, keeping your fingers away from the part that is going to cover the wound.
  • Lay the dressing(s) on the wound as directed by your podiatrist.
  • Secure as directed by your podiatrist.

Do not:

  • wrap tape around a whole toe or foot as this can stop blood flow
  • wait to seek help if you are concerned about changes in your wound. Ask the same day
  • get your dressing wet.

Signs of infection:

If you notice any of the following signs, speak to your GP or podiatrist the same day, as you may need antibiotics.

  • heat
  • redness
  • swelling
  • increased fluid from wound
  • increased pain
  • bad smell.

Remember if you have neuropathy (nerve damage) you may not be able to feel pain.

If you feel feverish, unwell or flu-like, contact 111 immediately

Ongoing treatment

Your type of dressings will change as your wound goes through different stages of healing.

How often you are asked to change your dressing is different for everyone.

You need to make sure once you have changed your dressing, it remains on, clean and dry unless you are advised otherwise.

Rest and elevate your feet for 23.5 hours per day as this has shown to significantly help wound healing.

Your podiatrist will let you know if you no longer need to change your dressings at home.

Please ensure you attend all of your appointments with your podiatrist.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact the podiatry service on 0300 303 8630

Podiatry (foot care)