Ask the Expert

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If you are struggling with a non-healing wound, we can help. Call (715) 268-0175.

Q: What is a chronic wound?

A: A chronic wound is anything that has not healed in 30 days or more. If the wound still exists after 30 days, something is preventing it from healing. The Wound Healing Center can help. Our goal is to figure out what’s stopping the wound from healing, correct that problem, and heal the wound in 14 weeks or less. 

Q: What are chronic wounds and why are they a problem?

A: A chronic wound is anything that hasn’t healed in four weeks. Having a chronic wound is a problem because the wound is a perfect gateway into your body for infection. At the Wound Healing Center, our goal is to figure out why the wound isn’t healing, get that problem corrected as soon as we can and move the patient on to healing within 14 weeks or less. We know that 30 percent of untreated wounds result in an amputation. We also know that patients with an amputation have a 50 percent mortality rate within 5 years. Chronic wounds are life threatening, but we can help. 

Q: How do you get chronic wounds to heal?

A: Great question! It takes a lot of things to get a chronic wound healed. First of all, we need to understand why the wound isn’t healing and take steps to correct that problem. We may discover that there is an infection and you would need an antibiotic. Or, we may discover an underlying health issue like diabetes is impacting your healing. Whatever the cause, we would see you weekly to make sure that issue is getting better and to make sure the wound itself is in the best condition to heal. That may require removing dead tissue from the wound, making sure it is moist or dry enough and that we are using the best type of dressing to promote healing. Healing a chronic wound is not a simple thing, but that’s why the Wound Healing Center is here. We are experts at healing wounds that haven’t healed within the normal time of four weeks. If you are struggling with one of these wounds, you don’t have to live with it. Most of the wounds we treat heal in 14 weeks or less.

Q: Does having a “bad” heart prevent my wound from healing?

A: Many factors can affect healing, but heart health is one of the most important. Issues with the heart and vessels can hinder blood flow, oxygen and nutrition to a wound. These are all necessary building blocks for wound healing. We help heal these types of wounds, even if there are heart complications. 

Q: Does the length of time I’ve had my wound make a difference in how quickly it will heal?

A: YES! Research has proven that the longer you have a wound before seeking treatment, the more time it takes to heal once you do begin treatment. Regardless of how long you've had a wound, we can help.

Q: Does having diabetes increase my risk of developing a foot wound?

A: Yes. Among people with diabetes, up to 25 percent experience a foot ulcer in their lifetime and 3.4 percent will experience an ulcer each year. More than half of all foot ulcers will become infected, requiring hospitalization and one in five will require an amputation. Diabetes is a serious disease that can have dramatic consequences; see your primary doctor regularly and make sure you are taking care of your feet by checking them daily for wounds, cracks and redness. If you do develop a foot ulcer, the Wound Healing Center can help.

Q: What is the connection between diabetes and chronic wounds?

A: Diabetes is a major cause of chronic wounds. It can cause nerve damage (called neuropathy) and also peripheral arterial disease both of which can lead to wounds that won’t heal. Diabetes is also a growing health problem with over nine percent of the population having this disease. Just within a 30 mile radius of Amery, there are 21,000 people with diabetes. Statistically, we know that 25 percent of them will develop a chronic ulcer – that’s 5,200 people. Fifteen percent of that 5,200 will experience an amputation, which means 788 people within 30 miles of Amery will experience an amputation due to diabetes. We want to prevent as many of those amputations as we can by healing the chronic ulcer as fast as possible. Don't wait; call (715) 268-0175 today.

Q: Why should I be concerned with foot health?

A: The average American takes 3,000 to 5,000 steps each day which is almost two million steps per year. We rely on our feet a lot, but often take them for granted. People living with diabetes should be especially concerned with the health of their feet as 25 percent of diabetics will develop a foot ulcer. Potential damage caused by diabetes can impact the blood supply to our feet, cause nerve damage, and make it more difficult to fight off infection. Paying attention to the health of our feet is foundational to avoiding serious complications, even amputation. 

Q: What is peripheral arterial disease and how does it affect wounds?

A: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is the narrowing or blockage of the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the legs. If blood flow is restricted, then less oxygen is reaching the area around the wound and this leads to the wound not healing correctly. If PAD is severe enough and not treated, it can lead to gangrene and even amputation. In the United States, 8.5 million people are affected by PAD; in fact, 12 to 20 percent of individuals older than 60 have PAD. Symptoms of PAD include pain with exertion (like walking) that is alleviated by resting, muscle atrophy, hair loss, skin that is cool to the touch, cold/numb toes, absent pulses in the feet, and non-healing sores on the legs and feet. This is a serious health concern! At the Wound Healing Center, one of the first things we do is test how well blood is supplied to the wound area. If we discover very little blood flow, we work directly with vascular specialists to look for possible blood flow improvements. Our goal is to prevent amputation and heal the chronic wound as quickly as possible, so we often work with other disciplines to achieve best results for our patients. 

Q: Who works at the Wound Healing Center? How does your staffing make you successful?

A: The Wound Healing Center (WHC) is an outpatient clinic with six physicians, three registered nurses and one Hyperbaric Technician who provide care for our patients. All our physicians and staff have specialized training in healing chronic wounds and follow clinical guidelines that heal most wounds quickly – usually within 14 weeks or less. Our wound healing doctors have certification to oversee Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Ten to 15 percent of our patients use this advanced healing treatment. If you are dealing with a wound that hasn’t healed in four weeks, call (715) 268-0175 to make an appointment. Our dedicated and specially trained staff can help heal your wound, allowing you to get back to doing the things you want to do.