HealthNotes: Blog Edition

Types of Chronic Wounds

May 31, 2019

Wound Care Awareness Week: June 3-7

Every year, chronic wounds affect approximately 6.7 million people in the U.S.

Healogics, the nation’s wound healing expert, and Frisbie’s Center for Wound Care describe the four most prevalent types of non-healing wounds.

Infectious Wounds:

Your skin protects the inside of your body from germs that cannot be seen. These bacteria can cause infection if you have a break in the skin. You can also get an infection in your bone, a condition known as osteomyelitis. A wound or bone infection can be hard to treat. It may require admission to the hospital and it can even lead to an amputation or death. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of an infection:

  • Warm or red skin
  • Fever or chills
  • Increased swelling around the wound
  • Dead tissue
  • Increased weakness
  • A wound that won’t heal

Vascular Wounds:

These types of wounds are the result of arterial or venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency occurs when valves within the veins begin to malfunction and result in blood pooling within the feet and legs. Venous hypertension, which is a result of chronic venous insufficiency, can lead to the painful, swollen (varicose) veins that predispose tissue to injury and poor healing. Some of the signs of non-healing ulcers are:

  • Redness and swelling that won’t go away
  • Pain and edema
  • Skin with minimal to no hair
  • Inflammation
  • Hotness
  • Blistering
  • General discoloration

Arterial ulcers typically occur as a result of decreased oxygen supply to the legs and feet. This occurs as a result of poor circulation, and is commonly seen in such diseases as atherosclerosis diabetes, sickle cell disease and vasculitis. The lack of oxygenated blood can result in tissue damage and hypoxia, which may lead to ulcer formation.

Radiation Related Wounds:

Cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy discover a hidden complication that may not come to light until years after they’ve concluded treatment. Radiation exposure can injure small blood vessels in the skin and other organs. As a result, blood flow may be diminished to the area in question and non-healing wounds may arise. Some symptoms of radiation injury include blood in the urine, redness or alterations in pigmentation of the skin.

Surgical Wounds:

Wounds caused by surgical incisions are not always chronic, however a surgical incision combined with a lack of blood supply to the area (whether from arterial insufficiency or a surgical complication) can progress to a chronic wound if left untreated. If the surgical wound is infected, it may appear red, hot and swollen.

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