An ulcer, whether caused by diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, arterial/venous disease, trauma, or another reason, can multiply the chances of an infection to form. The infection can spread to bone and lead to amputation. Early detection and prompt treatment is key.
Chronic wounds often result from other serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and blood circulation disorders. Other contributing factors include poor nutritional intake, abnormal pressure on skin over bony areas and chronic tobacco abuse. For people with diabetes, diabetic ulcers and diabetic wounds are a main cause of forming diabetic foot infections, which can put the limb at risk.
Wounds that do not heal are of particular concern because of the ease that they can become infected. As the wound deepens, an infection within the wound may travel to bone. This situation is the number one cause of lower extremity amputations. This is why you should never wait for a wound to heal “on its own.”
There are many options for wound care depending on the severity, size, location and nature/cause of the wound.
Debridement: Remove necrotic or non-viable tissue is one of the most import tools for wound healing. By debriding the wound(s), blood flow increases, bacterial over-growth is removed and the acute healing process can occur. Debridement can be done via enzymatic or surgical techniques.
Off-loading Wound healing can be greatly compromised due to direct pressure, either by shoes or by weight bearing itself. Special footwear, casting options, padding, offloading boots, braces and/or special inserts may be used to reduce the pressure and facilitate healing.
Dressings: Wounds require proper dressing type, hygiene and regularity of changing. Specific topical medications to enhance healing may also be prescribed.
Medication: It is often necessary for the patient to take oral antibiotics, in addition to the topical and other treatment options being implemented. Cultures may be taken to determine the strain of bacteria and the proper antibiotic. Topical growth hormones may also be prescribed to "jump-start" the healing in certain wounds.
Skin Grafting: For larger or non-healing wounds, skin grafting is another option. In these cases, a patient’s own skin, animal tissue or a synthetic tissue product may be applied to cover the wound and encourage healing. These options have the potential to accelerate healing times, reduce scarring, and prevent infection. They are many available options that should be discussed with your provider.
Laser therapy and more: This is an ever-growing and ever-changing field in medicine. Newer, easier and faster products are being developed what seems daily. We are constantly learning about and evaluating these therapies.
WOUND CARE CENTER
We are apart of local wound care centers, but also treat wounds at all of our facilities.