A wound that takes too long to heal can cause constant pain and discomfort, reducing a person's overall quality of life as they struggle to do the simplest daily tasks and activities. A non-healing wound does not move through the stages of recovery within an expected or predictable amount of time – usually within six to eight weeks. There are typically four stages the body goes through when healing a wound:
- Hemostasis: This happens very quickly after an injury. The body’s natural response is to constrict blood vessels and clot the wound with a hemostatic plug.
- Inflammatory: This stage overlaps with hemostasis and involves the blood vessels around the wound opening up, allowing oxygenated blood, nutrients, and white blood cells to heal the injury and fight off infection. This phase is usually characterized by swelling, redness, and a little heat from the wound – but this just means things are working in your favor.
- Proliferative: In this rebuilding phase, the body makes collagen and an extracellular matrix to rebuild new tissue. New blood vessels develop to allow this new tissue to receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs to facilitate a healthy repair.
- Remodeling or Maturation: This phase strengthens the wound by reorganizing the collagen that was laid down in the previous stage, reducing the size and thickness of the scar.
The healing of a wound is directly correlated with its size, depth, severity, and overall health condition of the individual. The difference in chronic or non-healing wounds is that they heal very gradually or often get stuck in the inflammatory stage. People can be at risk of a non-healing wound for a variety of conditions and behaviors, such as diabetes, vascular damage, hypertension, smoking, and immobility. Chronic wounds can point to more serious underlying conditions that should be evaluated and treated by a trained specialist.
Types of Non-Healing Wounds
Chronic or non-healing wounds commonly occur in the geriatric population and mainly develop below the knee. Conditions related to these types of wounds include:
- Diabetic ulcers – An open wound on the foot of someone with diabetes.
- Venous ulcers – An open wound on the leg due to complications with blood circulation leading back to the heart.
- Arterial ulcers – An open wound on the foot due to complications with blood circulation leading from the heart to organs and tissues.
- Pressure ulcers – Also known as bedsore, this wound occurs from putting pressure on the skin for an extended period of time, cutting off blood flow to other parts of the body.
Wound Care at Coastal Foot and Ankle Center
At Coastal Foot and Ankle Center, Dr. Christopher Calcagni uses his advanced training and experience in diabetic limb salvage, PADnet testing, and hyperbaric medicine to provide the most comprehensive wound care to patients. This sophisticated technology is used to diagnose, treat, manage, and prevent further infection and damage to chronic wounds.
Diabetic Limb Salvage
When sores and ulcers develop on the feet because of blood flow issues related to diabetes, they can sometimes lead to severe infection or amputation if left untreated or undiagnosed. Diabetic limb salvage is a complex approach that induces healing and reduces susceptibility to infection. It involves a team of specialists and a variety of techniques to preserve as much of the limb as possible and prevent adverse outcomes.
PADnet testing is a key system in the early detection of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD occurs when there is a buildup of cholesterol and plaque in the arteries of the lower limbs, causing a reduction in blood circulation to the legs and feet. As a result of this restriction in blood flow, the wound fails to heal properly, leading to severe complications in the leg and foot. The PADnet system detects these arterial blockages and determines the quality of blood flow using segmental blood pressure measurements and pulse volume recordings. With this technology, Dr. Calcagni is able to deliver timely care that optimizes patient outcomes.
In order for healthy blood vessels and skin tissues to regenerate, they need oxygen to promote the growth and healing of normal cell function. By increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood, the body’s inherent repairment process receives a boost in fighting off bacteria and the stimulation of the cells necessary in healing. This type of medicine involves inhaling pure oxygen, which allows your lungs to receive 20 times more oxygen than normal. It’s proven healing capabilities make it effective in treating wounds related to diabetes, infections, ulcers, and sores.
Wound Care in Naples, FL
Dr. Calcagni is your trusted provider in treating non-healing wounds and injuries, as well as providing diabetic care related to the feet and ankles. If you have any questions about our services or treatment options, give our office a call at (239) 747-0793 or request an appointment online.