While most of us have probably had a cut on our foot at one time or another, it usually goes away on its own in a matter of days. Chronic wounds, by definition, are wounds that have been present for a month without any appreciable signs of healing.
Chronic wounds can have a wide variety of causes. Patients with diabetes often suffer from foot ulcers, due to poor circulation and neuropathy, which become chronic wounds. Oftentimes if a person is bedridden but positioning to relieve pressure on bony areas such as heels and ankles is difficult, skin breakdown occurs that is then difficult to heal.
Other causes of chronic wounds are extremes in temperature as in the case of frostbite or a burn, exposure to industrial chemicals or detergents, and even surgical incisions that split open.
Sometimes in otherwise healthy individuals, an infection in the body can slow wound healing. Certain diseases, such as cancer, chronic rheumatologic conditions, kidney or liver disease, as well as some treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation can also be at the root of a wound that won’t heal. A complete medical history and careful examination are key in diagnosing the cause of a chronic wound.
When to Call a Podiatrist
At Great Neck Family Foot Care, our board certified podiatrists are some of the best trained wound care specialists in Nassau County. Whether you are suffering from an acute or chronic wound, you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms that may indicate your wound needs immediate attention:
- Pain that is increasing in severity.
- Redness or swelling around the wound or if the surrounding skin feels warmer than usual.
- Increased drainage or pus coming out the wound.
- Any odor from the wound site, particularly if it is present even after cleansing.
- Fever, chills, nausea or vomiting.