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Common Chronic Non-Healing Wounds

Pressure Ulcers

Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Venous Leg Wounds

Pressure Ulcers

A pressure ulcer is an area of tissue that is damaged when soft tissue is pressed between a bony area and another surface for a long time.  Pressure ulcers happen most commonly over a bony area such as the tailbone, buttock, hip or heel in people who can't move themselves around because of illness or injury.  The amount of pressure placed on the area, how long it is pressed, and the person's overall health all have an effect on the amount of skin damage.  Once the injury has occurred, it can take weeks or months to heal.

Pressure Ulcer Treatment

If you develop a pressure ulcer, it should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.  He or she will develop a treatment plan and teach you how to care for the wound.  Some key things to remember during treatment are:

- The area must be kept free of pressure whenever possible. This will help the wound heal and prevent further injury.

- Carefully watch other pressure areas on your body to prevent red areas elsewhere.

- Follow a nutritious diet.  Your nutrition affects the body's ability to heal.

- See your healthcare provider regularly to evaluate how the healing is going.  It will take weeks or months to heal a pressure ulcer.

- Keep the wounded area clean and bandaged.  A moist wound heals faster than a dry one.

Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Diabetes mellitus affects many body systems, including the nerves, blood vessels, muscles and immune system.  These factors can make the diabetic person more likely to get a foot infection and a wound.  Preventions of foot wounds is important because once a wound starts, it can be difficult to heal.

Treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

When you have a diabetic foot ulcer, your healthcare provider will examine you and begin treatment.  The first step is to remove any dead tissue from the wound.  This process is called debridement.  It makes your wound cleaner and less likely to become infected.  Wounds that have been debrided heal more quickly than those with excess necrotic (dead) tissue.  If you have excess callus around the area of the foot wound, your provider may remove it to reduce pressure and improve healing.

Venous Leg Wounds

There are many disease that can cause ulcers on the lower parts of the legs.  The most common is venous disease.  Venous ulcers are caused by vein damage.  Blood collects in the legs, causing swelling and weeping wounds.  The skin on the legs can become discolored and look stained brown.  Arterial disease can also cause wounds on the lower part of the legs.  Arterial disease makes wounds hard to heal because the blood flow to the wound is reduced.

Care of Venous Leg Wounds

If you have a wound that won't heal on your lower leg, see your healthcare provider, who will determine the cause of the wound and begin treatment.  If the wound is due to venous disease, the following recommendations may be made:

- Reduce the swelling in your legs.  This will help the wound heal.  Your healthcare provider may apply special wraps to the legs or may ask you to wear stretch support stockings.

- A prescription is necessary for stockings, and they will need to be sized by a certified fitter.
- Sizing will be more accurate when done in the morning.

- It is also helpful to raise your legs periodically throughout the day.  Sit in a recliner with your legs up or use a footstool.  Avoid prolonged standing or sitting.

- Help your body heal.

- Do not smoke.

- Do not use alcohol excessively.

- Do not scratch your legs.  If itching is a problem, discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.


If you've been missing out on the good things in life because of a wound that won't heal, consider visiting the Texas Health Huguley Hospital Fort Worth South Center for Wound Care.  Our expert healthcare specialists will provide a treatment plan designed specifically for your individual needs.  A comprehensive approach to wound care may be exactly what you need to return to your favorite family and daily life activities.  Contact your primary care physician for a referral or call us directly at 817-568-5422.