The definition of a non-healing wound is one that has not improved in four weeks or not completely healed in eight weeks. Ulcers of the lower extremities can have a debilitating impact on your everyday life and can occur from peripheral arterial disease, diabetes, trauma, venous disease, and autoimmune diseases. At the Wound Care Institute of Ocean County, LLC, a specialized division of Ocean County Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates, P.C., we recognize the importance of wound care management and the team approach for proven results. We utilize an algorithmic pathway to identify and treat chronic and disabling wounds.
Some common questions our patients ask are:
What exactly is an ulcer?
An ulceration is a breakdown of the skin surface down to the dermal tissue and beyond. Ultimately, our skin provides a protective barrier to our internal systems and external factors. Ulcerations can further progress and potentially cause limb loss and further deterioration of your overall health if not treated appropriately. An ulcer can be related to diabetes, venous or arterial complications, pressure ulcerations, trauma, and autoimmune issues.
What are the causes of chronic ulceration?
Diabetic foot ulcers are some of the most common wounds that occur on the lower extremities. These are often caused by excessive pressure and can rapidly worsen leading to cellulitis or bone infections known as osteomyelitis. If left untreated, these types of chronic wounds can lead to amputation. Circulation disturbance is also one of the most common causes of chronic wounds.
What are some of the treatments for chronic wounds?
There are many treatments for ulcerations of the lower extremities. Early detection and dedicated treatment plans prove to have better results and reduce the chance of amputations and loss of life. This is achieved through a team approach philosophy that has been adopted at the Wound Care Institute of Ocean County and includes:
- Serial debridements which involve cleaning and removing infected tissue and devitalized tissue
- Skin substitute with stem cells and growth factors
- Noninvasive vascular testing
- X-rays, bone scans, MRIs
- DNA cultures
- Offloading devices such as total contact casts and diabetic shoes
- Surgical intervention to correct structural deformities
Once we have determined the cause and delay of healing we can treat the ulcerations appropriately to minimize the chance of a limb loss. For example, diabetic shoes with custom diabetic orthotics or multi-density inlays can help minimize the chance of pressure ulcerations by offloading areas of increased pressure.
The Wound Care Institute of Ocean County offers a number of services including laboratory diagnostics, orthotic and prosthetic services, a diabetic shoe program, skin grafting, protective devices, and a vascular laboratory that tests blood flow to the lower extremities through noninvasive arterial and venous studies. Additionally, we offer clinical trials for patients when appropriate.
Visit one of our wound care center locations in Toms River, Brick, Whiting, Forked River, and Browns Mills at the Deborah Heart and Lung Medical Campus, where we offer all of these treatments for healing ulcerations of the lower extremities.
If you have any questions or any problems related to ulcerations and other lower extremity concerns, please call us immediately day or night. We are open 6 days a week and have on-call service 24 hours a day. We are here to help! If you have an ulceration please do not wait too long, seek medical attention as soon as possible.