What are the 5 reasons wounds won’t heal? At Encompass Healthcare, we look at the patient as a whole to determine why wounds are not healing. Resolving these underlying conditions allows wounds to heal.
Treating the patient in a holistic manner allows us to see the “whole picture.” Oftentimes, other practitioners get focused on the obvious: they focus on the wound that is not healing and they allow that to drive their treatment plan in forms of specialized bandages, ointments, etc. So often, however, it’s not the wound that is the problem. Much more frequently, it is the underlying conditions that a doctor cannot see on the surface that gives rise to the non-healing wound.
That’s where we come in. We address each and every possible underlying reason to why a
wound isn’t healing, that often get missed before our patients discover our office. And there
are generally 5 reasons why wounds won’t heal.
The 5 reasons why wounds won’t heal are:
- Poor Circulation
- Edema (fluid buildup)
- Inadequate Nutrition
- Repetitive Trauma to the Wound
Wounds heal most efficiently when there is easy internal access to and from the wound site through the body’s circulatory system. When the circulatory system is compromised due to medical problems, the body cannot get the proper blood flow to the wound site in order to heal it properly.
Infection is a barrier to wound healing. If a wound is infected, the body can’t make use of its normal wound-healing properties. So clearing up an infection is critical in wound care. This can be achieved through oral and /or IV antibiotics.
Edema is fluid that builds up in and around tissues that impedes circulation and the wound-healing process. Edema can be treated with manual lymphatic drainage, compression therapies, lifestyle changes and specific medications.
Insufficient nutrition is the most overlooked reason why wounds won’t heal. Older, more traditional methods of wound care focused on treating the outside of wounds with salves, ointments and dressings. Today, we know that conditions on the inside of the body, including nutrition, play critical roles in the wound-healing process.
All wounds require that the patient take in more nutrients, particularly protein, to heal wounds and also to carry on normal daily body functions. In fact, the amount of protein needed can be three or more times the recommended daily requirement.
At Encompass HealthCare, we use blood work along with an indirect calorimeter to determine a patient’s nutritional needs during healing.
REPETITIVE TRAUMA TO THE WOUND AND OFFLOADING
When a wound keeps getting bumped or rubbed against a surface, it is said to be undergoing repetitive trauma and the healing process is lengthened or stopped completely. In these instances, the wound needs to be offloaded. Offloading is when a cast is applied in such a way as to avoid any further accidental bumping, rubbing or trauma to the wound.
At Encompass HealthCare, we look for signs of repetitive trauma that may include the wound rubbing against a wheelchair if the patient is disabled. In spinal cord injured patients, pressure ulcers can develop due to lack of body movement and then become re-injured when care isn’t taken during moving.
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