Wounds are injuries to the outer skin layers exposing the deeper tissues. A wound can be caused by excess pressure, vascular disease, metabolic disease or after an injury that breaks the skin. Wounds are commonly seen in patients living with diabetes, neuropathy or vascular disease. Open wounds can put patients at increased risk of developing infection of the skin and bone.
The signs and symptoms of wounds may include drainage, odor or red, inflamed, thickened tissue. Pain present in many wound, however, neuropathic wounds are mostly painless.
Most wounds heal without difficulty. However, some factors can impede wound healing and necessitate intervention, otherwise, wounds will become chronic and non-healing.
X-rays or MRI are helpful diagnostic tools to evaluate the possibility of bone involvement. Arterial studies may also be ordered to evaluate for vascular disease, which may affect a patient’s ability to heal the wound.
Wounds are treated by debridement and removal of unhealthy devitalized tissue and performing the appropriate wound dressing to assist in healing. Padding and sometimes special shoes may be used to remove excess pressure on the wound area. If wounds become infected, antibiotics will be necessary. Severe wounds that involve extensive soft tissue infection or bone infection will necessitate surgical intervention, IV antibiotic and/or advanced wound care treatments.