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Wound Management Overview

The proper care of a non-healing wound on the feet or ankles is essential to your health and well-being. A chronic wound is a skin wound that shows no improvement within four weeks or is not totally healed within eight weeks. Chronic wounds may also heal but then recur. Left untreated, a chronic wound can result in deformities and possibly even amputation. These types of wounds on the feet or ankles require specialized treatment that your podiatrist is uniquely qualified to handle.

Currently approximately seven million people in the United States alone suffer from a chronic non healing wound with this staggering number growing daily. Patients, who are over the age of 65, have diabetes, venous deficiencies, and/or have pressure ulcers are among those who are at the most risk of developing a chronic wound. Currently in the United States, 20.8 million children and adults, approximately 7% of the population has diabetes. Up to 15% of the 20.8 million Americans with diabetes may possibly suffer from a chronic wound, most commonly a non-healing foot wound, which often leads to an amputation. About 85% of amputations are preceded by a lower extremity ulcer. Every year over 82,000 people with diabetes require an amputation of a lower extremity. The remaining percentages of chronic wounds are a result of peripheral neuropathy, pressure ulcers, peripheral arterial disease, non-healing surgical wounds, and other factors. It is imperative that patients with pre disposing conditions monitor any wounds on the feet or ankles, and report any issues or problems immediately to their podiatrist.

Treatments for a chronic wound on the feet or ankles are diverse and produce tangible results. Depending on the severity your treatment may require little to no invasive measures. Your podiatrist will also likely utilize a team approach to wound management. A multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers typically demonstrates a positive outcome in wound care, research has shown. Your podiatrist may work closely with a vascular surgeon, an infectious disease specialist, your primary care physician, a physical and/or occupational therapist, a plastic surgeon, a nutritionist, or any other healthcare provider that may be integral to the healing process of your wound.

The key is to be proactive and see your podiatrist immediately if you have a wound that you believe has become chronic on the feet or ankles. Your podiatrist will be with you every step of the way.