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Chronic Wound

What Is a Chronic Wound?

A chronic wound is injured tissue that won’t heal within normal time frames. These vary with the wound’s type and severity. Healing might take less than two weeks or more than six weeks. Chronic wounds can take months to heal. Some never heal completely.

Types of wounds include:

  • Acute – From surgery or traumatic injury
  • Infectious – Caused by bacteria, fungus or virus
  • Ischemic – Due to poor blood supply
  • Radiation – From cancer therapy or accidental exposures
  • Ulcerated – Sores (ulcers) in skin, arteries or veins, often in lower legs

Delayed treatment or improper care can cause chronic wounds. Ulcers are common, including pressure ulcers (bedsores) from irritation to a bedridden patient’s skin.

Chronic wound causes include:

  • Advanced age
  • Inactivity or immobility
  • Severe burns
  • Diabetes
  • Nerve damage
  • Poor circulation
  • Poor health, diet and nutrition
  • Lifestyle, such as smoking or alcohol abuse
  • Radiation
  • Traumatic injury
  • Weak immune system

Symptoms

  • Chronic wound symptoms include:
  • Bleeding, swelling, pain or blistering
  • Darkened skin around the wound
  • Difficulty moving the injured area
  • Enlarged or deepened injury
  • Fever
  • Itching
  • Milky pus
  • Warmth or heat when touched

Treatment Options

Complex wound treatment requires teamwork. Therapies focus on managing causes. Your doctor may order lab tests and check for infection or autoimmune disease, blood sugar imbalances, anemia or circulatory disorders. A multidisciplinary team will treat related conditions.

Treatment includes:

  • Medications for pain, swelling or infection
  • Debridement (removing infected or damaged tissue)
  • Protective topical medication
  • Wound inspections and dressing changes
  • Advanced vascular procedures
  • Nutrition, healing and wound care education
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

Severe wounds are common in feet, ankles and legs. The Temple Health team includes specialists in diabetic foot care and lower-extremity wounds. Medical specialists manage wounds from trauma or disease-related damage to blood vessels and nerves. If wounds endanger limbs, experts provide advanced care to help prevent amputation.

Podiatric physicians offer expertise in these areas:

  • Wound and infection management
  • Pressure reduction
  • Footwear
  • Gait analysis
  • Vascular and neurological evaluation
  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of a chronic wound, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat a chronic wound.