Services and Treatments
Inflamed or painful wounds or ulcers that don’t heal with time need specialized medical attention. These chronic wounds could cause serious complications if left unmanaged.
Treatment for wounds
We care for patients with all types of chronic and slow-healing wounds, including ulcers, burns and infections.
Symptoms of chronic wounds
A chronic wound is one that has stalled in the healing process. Symptoms of chronic wounds include:
- Bleeding – Healing wounds will scab over and stop bleeding. If a wound still bleeds after a few weeks, it could be a chronic wound.
- Discharge – Yellowish, milky or thick liquid oozing from a wound is a sign of infection, which can stop healing in its tracks.
- Fever – If your temperature runs higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours, see a doctor as soon as possible. A fever could indicate a serious complication.
- Odor – Foul-smelling wounds likely have dead tissue that needs to be removed for the wound to heal.
- Pain – If pain lingers or becomes worse weeks after you first notice it, the wound may not be healing.
- Swelling – Chronic wounds can appear red and swollen, even after several days or weeks.
If a sore or ulcer is still showing these symptoms after 30 days, it likely is a chronic wound that will require specialized wound care.
Causes of chronic wounds
Several health conditions and medical factors can cause wounds to develop, including:
- Arterial insufficiency (leg ulcers) – Clogged arteries in the legs can cause ulcers, or open sores, to form. These wounds are called ischemic ulcers, meaning they’re caused by reduced blood flow, a symptom of peripheral vascular disease.
- Autoimmune disorders (leg and foot ulcers) – Disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis can cause ulcers to develop on the legs or feet due to inflammation and poor blood circulation.
- Diabetes (foot ulcers) – People with diabetes are at risk for foot ulcers. These sores typically develop on the bottom of the foot which, if left untreated, can cause serious complications such as the need to amputate the affected foot or leg. Learn how to prevent diabetic foot ulcers.
- Injury (traumatic ulcers) – Trauma that damages the body’s tissue or the arteries, veins or the infection-fighting lymphatic system can lead to the formation of ulcers.
- Osteomyelitis (bone infection) – The bone tissue becomes inflamed after a bacterial blood infection spreads to the bone. Learn more about osteomyelitis.
- Ostomy – This medical procedure creates an opening in the stomach to transport waste out of the body, usually because of bowel problems. The ostomy wound must be kept clean or it can become infected. Learn more about living with an ostomy.
- Prolonged pressure (bedsores) – These ulcers develop on areas of the skin that are under constant, prolonged pressure, usually because someone is bedridden or unconscious. They usually form on bony, protruding body parts such as the tailbone, elbows and shoulder blades. Learn more about bedsores.
- Surgery (infected wounds) – Post-surgery wounds can become infected, making the skin surrounding an incision red and inflamed. The infection prevents the area from healing.
- Venous insufficiency (leg ulcers) - If the veins that control blood flow to the heart fail, blood can get backed up and cause ulcers to form. These sores usually appear on the lower leg or ankle. Learn more about venous ulcers.