When most of us get a wound, it tends to heal on its own in a matter of weeks. But in some cases, wounds linger and do not improve on their own. When this happens, it’s time to seek a doctor’s help as it could indicate a more serious condition and require more advanced treatment. Unhealed wounds can lead to serious complications, including amputation in the most extreme cases.
Here are some health issues that would hinder the wound healing process, and the types of wound care available.
When there is insufficient blood flow to the part of the body with the wound, it slows down the wound healing process. This often happens in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) or patients with diabetes. Blood is an important factor in wound healing, as it brings cells to the wound which aid in rebuilding and repairing the damage.
Infection also inhibits a wound’s ability to heal naturally. When a wound becomes infected with a virus, fungus or bacteria, it is less likely to be attacked by white blood cells, which occurs in healthier parts of the body. Being compromised by a wound makes infections difficult to fight, especially if the infection starts on or around the bone. It’s important to correctly diagnose the type of infection and treat it quickly.
According to the Mayo Clinic, edema is swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in bodily tissue. It most commonly affects the hands, feet, arms, ankles and legs, which are also common locations for wound sites. The fluid buildup can cause blood vessels to harden and restrict blood flow. This compression can damage skin, leading to ulcers.
Types of Wound Care
There are all types of wounds and causes for why they won’t heal, so these factors will help your physician determine the right type of wound care for your situation. If you see a doctor for wound care, he or she will want to know about any existing health conditions and your diet, to determine whether there is a connection in what’s causing your wound not to heal.
Your physician will examine the wound to assess its size and appearance, and determine if you need any of the following treatments.
Advanced Wound Dressings
Dressings for wounds come in direct contact with wounds, and aid in preventing infection. They are meant to stop bleeding and absorb excess secretions so the wound can begin to heal. There are several types of wound dressings, including:
- Hydrocolloid — commonly used for burns, pressure ulcers and venous ulcers.
- Hydrogel — used for wounds with little secretions, and infected wounds.
- Alginate — used for wounds with high amounts of wound drainage.
- Collagen — used for wounds such as bed sores, transplant sites and large wounds.
Negative Pressure Wound Therapy
This procedure involves creating a negative pressure environment in the wound to promote healing using a vacuum dressing. The vacuum draws out excess fluid from the wound site and stimulates blood flow in the area.
The removal of dead skin at a wound site when the body doesn’t shed it naturally.
Wraps to Decrease Lower Leg Swelling
Bandages that wrap tightly around the lower leg to reduce swelling and increase circulation.
To help you reclaim a healthy life and increase your comfort and mobility, it may be time to consider seeing a doctor for your wound that won’t heal. The interdisciplinary medical team at Fisher-Titus has advanced training and experience in wound care. Our specially trained group of doctors, nurses and professional staff can work with you to develop a treatment plan for your individual wound care needs. To schedule an appointment with our Fisher-Titus Center for Wound Healing, call 419-660-6980.