A chronic wound is one that has failed to progress through the normal wound healing stages and does not repair itself within a sufficient time period. In order for a wound to heal, the body needs oxygen, nutrients, a sufficient blood supply, and must be free of infection. In patients with chronic wounds, one or more of these elements are missing, which impedes the healing process.
Some wounds take months or longer to heal; others never fully heal. These wounds are more than just a nuisance. Without treatment and early intervention, the patient may be at risk of amputation.
Our innovative approach and progressive, proven diagnostic services and treatments at the Wound and Vascular Center have worked for hundreds of patients with several types of chronic wounds. We are currently accepting new patients. Call today to book an appointment: 855-827-2852
There are numerous types of health conditions that can lead to chronic wounds. Many wounds are caused by arterial and/or venous disease, while others are caused by peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) and/or by poor circulation in the lower extremities. Most chronic wounds appear on the lower extremities, but may appear elsewhere as well, such as on the buttocks.
Four of the most common types of chronic wounds our patients have are diabetic, venous, arterial, and pressure ulcers, with 98% of all lower extremity wounds being diabetic or venous in nature.
- Diabetic ulcers – A common complication in uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, people living with diabetes can develop ulcers on the feet, toes, and heels. They are the result of poor blood circulation, nerve damage, and impaired immune function. Many diabetic ulcers are neuropathic-related, where overly dry skin cracks, scales, and develops calluses. The calluses can break down and form ulcers. In other cases, diabetic ulcers are ischemic in origin. In such cases, the ulcer, pale and cool, forms in patients with poor circulation. (See our page on Diabetes and Chronic Wounds.)
- Venous ulcers – Venous ulcers represent about half of chronic ulcers. They usually develop in the lower leg and form when the valves inside the veins cease functioning properly, causing blood to pool in the veins. These wounds often start with venous diseases like varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) that progressively get worse. These types of ulcers, which usually develop in the lower leg cause inflammation and pain, and drain heavily, negatively affecting quality of life.
- Arterial ulcers – Arterial ulcers, round-shaped wounds with even edges, usually affect the full thickness of skin and appear punched out. Typically appearing on the legs or feet, they are caused by impaired circulation and might be characterized by pain that manifests after physical activity or at night.
- Pressure ulcers – Pressure ulcers – which are common around joints, on the back, or on the heels – are sores caused by staying in the same position for an extended period. This puts pressure on areas of the body pressing against a bed or other object, affecting blood flow to the skin and tissue. The tissue appears red or discolored and may become deeper if left untreated.
While patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and venous disease are at high risk of developing chronic wounds, there are many factors and conditions that can put you at risk:
- Conditions that affect your vascular system, such as hypertension, heart disease, various veins, and deep venous thrombosis
- Poor nutrition
- Unhealthy lifestyle habits, including smoking, poor hygiene, and lack of exercise
- Chronic conditions that compromise your immune system, including major burn injuries, cancer, AIDS, and high cholesterol
- History of ulcers
- Being of an advanced age
- Immobility and prolonged periods of bed rest
- Occupations that require long periods of sitting
The more risk factors you have, the more diligent you need to be in taking preventative measures. Screening and early diagnosis are key. Let us help. Our caring, highly qualified team at the Wound and Vascular Center can help you manage your risks and develop a treatment plan that works for you.
Chronic wounds cause significant emotional distress and physical limitations. They affect patients in a variety of ways. Here are just a few symptoms of chronic wounds.
- Loss of balance
- Trouble sleeping
- Inability to carry on normal daily activities
The Wound and Vascular Center’s whole-person approach to wound assessment and treatment allows us to optimally manage and care for your wounds while reducing risks of complications, including amputation. After assessing your needs, our physician will help devise a treatment plan that will work best for you.
We have same-day appointments available upon request and we accept most types of insurance. Get it touch with us today by calling 855-827-2852 or by filling out our contact form.