Closing the Gap with Specialty Wound Care
Not all wounds are created equal.
If you’ve tried all the ointments and employed countless bandages but your wound persists beyond a week or two, it may be time to visit a specialist. And maybe you’ve never thought of wound healing as a struggle, but there are millions who are uniquely prone to dealing with stubborn—even life-threatening—cuts, abrasions and bruises.
Recognizing Common Chronic Wounds
Venous and foot ulcers are arguably the most common of all chronic wounds, generally because of their frequent occurrence in diabetics. But diabetes isn’t the only key risk factor. Other common conditions and habits associated with this type of wound include:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clot)
- Physical Immobility/Paralysis
When a venous or foot ulcer begins, it usually appears as a dark red or purple patch on the bottom or side of the foot, around a toe or on the side of the lower leg. Over time, the area will develop into a shallow red crater and the edges will likely become thick and calloused.
The real challenge is when these wounds go unnoticed. For those with poor circulation or certain complications of diabetes, the nerves around the wound may not be fully functioning—this means the wound won’t actually hurt like it otherwise would. If left untreated, the wound could become infected and even begin to cause nerve and tissue damage.
Benefitting From Specialty Wound Care Treatment
Such a unique problem demands a unique approach. Enter the wound care specialist.
“The body has an amazing ability to heal itself, however many times, it needs a little help from evidence-based research and applied knowledge to achieve healing,” states Joseph Williams, MD, Medical Director, Methodist Hospital for Surgery’s Center for Wound Care & Hyperbarics. “Our center offers advanced treatment options for those living with non-healing wounds.”
Depending on the type and severity of a chronic wound, specialists have incredibly advanced treatment options at their disposal. For example, most treatments can begin with debridement. During this simple treatment, diseased tissue is trimmed away, the wound is bandaged and then specialty footwear is used to relieve pressure from the area; this process is usually repeated several times over a course of weeks or months until the wound is completely healed.
Perhaps one of the best things a wound care specialist can do is teach patients how to properly care for themselves and their chronic wounds at home. A specialized home care regimen may include:
- Specialized Diet
- Antibiotics to Prevent Infection
- Smoking Cessation (if applicable)
- Elevation of Affected Limbs
- Routine Walks or Daily Exercise (to improve circulation)
- Compression Stockings or Bandages
But if a wound persists after routine debridement and comprehensive home care, your specialist will have numerous advanced treatment options to discuss, some of which may include topical solutions, hyperbaric treatments or surgery. Talk to your physician today if you have questions about chronic wound care, or contact Methodist Hospital for Surgery’s Center for Wound Care and Hyperbarics for information on our wound care specialists.