A human’s skin is an amazing organ. Among other tasks, it provides protection from external threats such as harmful bacteria and other organisms, along with mechanical threats such as a cut. Although skin has many self-healing properties including combating bacteria and containing blood loss, there are certain situations where a skin wound can overwhelm the body’s natural healing mechanisms. If left unchecked, these types of wounds can become quite serious. Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Spine & Sports Medicine’s Wound Care Center specializes in providing treatment for ulcers and wounds.
A venous ulcer is a wound typically found around the lower leg or ankle. An individual with a venous ulcer often has poor circulation. Since the feet and lower legs are farthest away from the heart, if blood circulation is compromised, these areas are often the first where blood pools rather than efficiently sent back to the heart.
If a physician determines a patient suffers from a venous ulcer they will typically recommend some or all of the following treatments:
- Antibiotics (if infection is present)
- Compression stockings to increase circulation
- Elevation of the affected extremity
Arterial ulcers often develop around various areas of the foot or ankle, but they can also be found elsewhere on the body. Arterial ulcers primarily occur because an area of tissue did not receive a normal supply of nutrient and oxygen-giving blood, thus causing damage to tissues. Typically clogged arteries are responsible for the lack of proper blood supply.
The main key to healing an arterial ulcer is restoring proper blood supply to affected tissue. This may include surgery to widen a narrowed artery. If infection is present, antibiotics will likely be prescribed. In cases of serious infection, amputation of the extremity may be necessary.
Pressure sores, also known as bed sores, result from prolonged pressure on an area of the skin. A pressure ulcer typically forms around bony prominences of the body, due to the elevated pressure of the bone against the underlying surface. A pressure ulcer is a serious injury. It means the affected tissue is injured to the point of necrosis (tissue death).
Treatment for pressure ulcers depends upon the degree of injury. A physician may recommend any or all of the following in order to heal a pressure ulcer:
- Antibiotics if necessary
- Keeping the wound clean and dry
- Changing physical position of the patient every 2 hours
- Encouraging a good diet and plenty of liquids
- Surgical debridement (removal of dead tissue)
If you would like to know more about treatments for skin ulcers or are suffering from ulcers that need intensive treatment, please contact Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Wound Care Center for an appointment.