Safe Waterproofing Tips for Early Aquatic Intervention

Safe Waterproofing Tips for Early Aquatic Intervention

Post-surgical rehab for ACL injuries can be a long and complicated process for many athletes.

University of Arizona’s Assistant Athletic Director, Randy Cohen, ATC, utilizes aquatic therapy days—not weeks—after surgery. As soon as the wound stops draining, he and the athletic training staff follow a specific procedure to allow their athletes early gains from aquatic therapy. Team physicians are comfortable with this procedure, as the staff has been treating wounds this way for many years and have seen tremendous results.

According to Randy, this is how they protect wounds:

  1. Cut a piece of sterile gauze just larger than the size of the wound and lay it on the wound. This allows us to document that the wound stayed dry. The gauze goes on dry, stays dry, and is removed dry. This must be documented.
  2. Apply adhesive spray to the area that will receive the waterproof dressing.
  3. Apply the clear OpSite or Bioclusive dressing over the wound, being sure to anchor it well. Rub it down firmly and make sure it’s smooth. Seal the edges firmly. If this is done, when bending of the extremity occurs, there will not be breakage in the dressing.

NOTE: The clear dressing allows the wound to be visible, giving both the athlete and staff another level of comfort. The dressing provides a barrier to bacteria and protects the wound from external contamination.

  1. When the session is over, remove the dressing, touch the gauze to make sure it’s dry, and document accordingly.

Watch the 3 minute video of Randy applying gauze and dressing here.



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