Wound Care Q & A
When do I need wound care?
You need wound care when you have a severe wound, an infected wound, or a non-healing wound. The top causes of non-healing wounds are conditions that restrict blood flow in your legs and feet.
The three most common non-healing wounds are:
Venous ulcers, also called venous stasis ulcers, occur when you have a vascular problem called chronic venous insufficiency. This condition causes blood to back up in your leg veins, which increases the blood pressure in your lower leg.
High venous pressure leads to a non-healing venous ulcer. Without wound care, the ulcer enlarges and can easily develop an infection.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) develops when atherosclerotic plaque restricts blood flow in the leg arteries. Severe PAD may cause an ulcer by depriving the skin of oxygen-carrying blood, leading to cellular death and a non-healing arterial ulcer.
High blood sugar damages the blood vessels in your foot and lower leg. If you develop a small wound on your foot, it won’t heal because it doesn’t get enough blood. The wound subsequently turns into a non-healing diabetic ulcer.
Another problem with high blood sugar is that it also damages the nerves in your foot, a condition called peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy often causes numbness, so you won’t feel any pain and won’t realize you have a wound. As a result, it can turn into an ulcer before you know you have a problem.
What symptoms indicate that I need wound care?
If you have venous insufficiency, you may develop symptoms in your lower leg such as:
Chronic leg and foot pain
Lower limb hair loss
Poor nail growth
Skin rash and/or reddish-brown skin
These symptoms appear before high venous pressure causes a venous ulcer.
Venous ulcers typically appear around your ankle or lower leg. You will notice a shallow, red, open wound with uneven borders. Your venous ulcer may not cause pain until it becomes infected. By comparison, arterial ulcers are usually painful, deep, round wounds with well-defined margins.
A diabetic foot ulcer may first appear as a cut, scrape, or callus that turns into an open, red wound. Foot ulcers most often develop on the pressure points of your foot, such as the heel, ball of the foot, and anywhere your shoes are too tight.
What wound care services might I receive?
Dr. Patel creates an individualized wound care plan that includes treating any underlying health conditions and providing essential care that supports wound healing.
Your wound care may include one or more of the following:
Bio-engineered tissue substitutes
Negative pressure wound therapy
Off-loading to eliminate pressure
Total contact casting
Dr. Patel also teaches you how to take care of your wound at home.
At the first sign of an active ulcer, call Premier Vascular or book an appointment online.