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.
THE 5 REASONS WOUND WON’T HEAL ARE:
- Poor Circulation
- Edema (fluid buildup)
- Inadequate Nutrition
- Repetitive Trauma to the Wound
How We Heal Wounds
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 wounds 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. Resolving 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 (a machine that measures how many calories you need daily) to determine a patient’s nutritional needs during healing.
REPETITIVE TRAUMA TO THE WOUND AND OFFLOADING
It is difficult to heal wounds when the injured area keeps getting bumped or rubbed against a surface. This is what is called “repetitive trauma” and the healing process is lengthened or stopped completely. The solution to this problem is that 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 or re-positioning.
Treating the patient in a holistic manner allows us to see the “whole picture” and to heal wounds. Oftentimes, it’s not the wound that is the problem. Much more frequently, it is the underlying conditions that need to be treated that gives rise to the non-healing wound.