Dangers of Ignoring a Slow-Healing Wound

Dangers of Ignoring a Slow-Healing Wound

If you have a sore or wound that lasts for weeks or months, it’s time to consult a doctor. This is because a slow-healing wound can cause serious complications.

At Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Kerry Berg, DPM, takes the utmost care in treating slow-healing wounds and preventing serious complications from developing in patients with diabetes and circulation issues.

In this blog, Dr. Berg explains more about why it’s critical to take care of slow-healing wounds and what you can do if you have one.

Who’s at risk for slow-healing wounds?

It’s vital to act quickly if wounds don’t heal, because these open wounds can serve as entry points for dangerous bacteria to enter the body. An infection can cause tissue loss, abscess formation, and even sepsis if bacteria spreads to other parts of the body. In the worst case scenario, these wounds can lead to amputation. 

Patients with diabetes have an elevated risk of developing slow-healing wounds because the diseases can damage blood vessels and cause circulation problems. Furthermore, the condition can damage nerves, which can reduce sensations and leave a person unaware if they get a cut. This can be especially true in the legs and feet.

With reduced blood flow and lack of sensation, you could develop a nonhealing wound from something as simple as stubbing your toe and not know it. Furthermore, patients with other circulatory conditions, such as peripheral artery disease (PAD), are also at risk of developing slow-healing wounds. In PAD, plaque narrows the arteries and reduces the blood flow.

That’s why having a foot and ankle specialist as part of your team for wound care is essential if you have diabetes or another condition that affects your circulation. 

When to contact a doctor

While chronic wounds can heal on their own, it's best to seek medical care to have your wound examined and to start treatment, especially if you have diabetes or another circulatory condition. Contact a doctor as soon as you notice a sore on your feet or ankles. The faster treatment begins, the lower your chances will be of developing serious complications. 

Slow-healing wounds can begin as a pimple or a scrape. They may scab over repeatedly without fully healing. If you notice a sore that follows this pattern, it's a red flag that you should see a doctor to begin treatment.

Patients with diabetes should eat adequate protein, stay hydrated, and keep their blood sugar levels under control in order to help wounds heal.

Maintaining good foot care 

Patients with diabetes are more prone to developing open wounds — also called diabetes-related ulcers — on their feet. This makes taking good care of your feet crucial. You may be able to avoid developing a foot ulcer by practicing adequate foot care, such as by doing the following:

Keep your feet clean

Keep your feet clean, dry, and moisturized by washing them daily. However, you should avoid soaking them. After cleaning your feet, dry them carefully and inspect them, paying close attention to the spaces between your toes. Then, apply a cream or ointment to your feet. 

Trim your toenails properly

Trim your toenails straight across. Don’t round them, because this could lead to an ingrown toenail. Furthermore, if you want calluses, bunions, warts, or corns removed, don’t do this on your own. Ask Dr. Berg to do this. She can remove them in a way that won’t lead to an infection.

Wear the right shoes

Choose closed-toe shoes that fit well and have a roomy toe box. Wearing Ill-fitting shoes can cause pain, aggravate wounds, and lead to sores. If you need help selecting shoes, Dr. Berg can go over your options. You should also avoid going barefoot, even at home. Going barefoot could increase your risk of cutting or scraping your feet. 

Get expert care

Taking care of slow-healing wounds right away gives you the best chance of avoiding serious, life-threatening health complications. Fortunately, you can rely on the expertise of Dr. Berg to help keep your feet and ankles healthy. And, she can help you manage chronic conditions that affect your circulation at the same time.

To learn more about our approach to wound care, or to have a wound evaluated, call 719-493-9241 or book an appointment online with Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates today.

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