Scrapes, sores, and small cuts can happen to anyone, and usually they heal quickly without additional problems. A wound that won’t heal within a couple of months, however, is considered chronic and should be looked at by a professional. The experts at Podiatry Associates, P.C. specialize in wound care and will help you get healthy again as quickly as possible.
Why Won’t It Heal?
Reasons for chronic wounds vary, but they are most prominent in persons with poor blood circulation, like those with diabetes. Because the disease often causes lack of feeling, it is not uncommon for diabetic patients to acquire a blister or cut without realizing it. Blood sugar levels can affect the healing process, and as a result even the smallest of abrasions can evolve into a serious wound. This in turn can lead to infection, gangrene, and even amputation.
Pressure ulcers, known as bed sores, can also become serious wounds if left untreated. These often occur in those confined to a wheelchair or bed.
Other factors that come into play are foot deformities, ethnicity, age, and conditions such as peripheral vascular disorders that impede blood circulation, arterial occlusive disease which causes artery blockages, and osteomyelitis, or bone infections.
Wound Care Can’t Wait
As soon as you notice a problem with a wound not healing, give our office a call. We will give you a thorough evaluation, complete with blood tests and lab work, which will help determine if an underlying condition like diabetes is inhibiting your healing. If such a condition is diagnosed, it will have to be treated and managed immediately. In the meantime, wound care must also begin.
If the site is infected, antibiotics will be prescribed. Any dead tissue will be removed. This is called debridement. Off-loading, a term that refers to taking pressure away from the area, will also take place. Patients will be taught how to clean, protect, and apply medication and dressings to the wound.
In severe cases, hospitalization may occur and surgery may be necessary. Otherwise, the process of healing and recovery can be done at home. You may need to wear special footgear, a brace or cast, and use crutches or a wheelchair.
The time it takes for the wound to heal depends on its size and location, the strength of medication, and the level of infection. Other factors include whether the patient is able to keep the area clean and bandaged correctly, avoid putting pressure on it, and manage any underlying condition. Healing may take weeks or require several months.
Ways to Keep Wounds Away
The best way to prevent a wound from getting out of control is to first and foremost manage any type of underlying condition. Avoid going barefoot or exposing your feet to extreme temperatures. Wear comfortable shoes that won’t cause pressure and irritation. Keep your toenails trimmed and your skin moist. In addition, check your feet daily and know the signs of infection (swelling, redness, drainage).
If you have a wound that just won’t heal, seek treatment immediately before serious complications set in. Call (303) 805-5156 to make an appointment with Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen or another member of our team, or visit a Podiatry Associates, P.C. location in Castle Pines, Cherry Creek, or Parker, CO. Wound care is essential to restoring your quality of life.