Why Isn’t My Wound Healing?

Some say that time heals all wounds, but if you have a wound that isn’t healing with time, should you start to worry?

Arti Masturzo MD, medical director at the Bethesda North Wound Care Center says "yes" – to an extent. “We work on the premise that healthy people do not get chronic wounds."

When patients have wounds that are not healing, it usually indicates there is a pre-existing health condition, like diabetes, protein malnutrition, a thyroid issue, or even cancer.

In some cases, Dr. Masturzo and her team learn that the patient was using the wrong product, which slowed the healing process. However, “usually there’s something going on," she points out. "Not every time, but most often, it’s an undiagnosed problem.”

Finding the Right Wound Treatment Option

If you notice that your wound is not healing – or, it’s getting worse – call your doctor to have it examined. From there, you may be sent to a wound care specialist, depending on how severe your wound is.

“The approach is always comprehensive,” Dr. Masturzo explains. “This means that you’re not just locally treating the wound, but you’re also treating any of the intrinsic factors – factors that are affecting [the wound] from inside the body … as well as extrinsic factors, which are environmental factors that are affecting the healing.”

At TriHealth, common wound treatment options include:

  • Debridement (removal of dead/contaminated tissue and foreign matter)
  • Infection control
  • Revascularization
  • Growth factor therapy
  • Bioengineered skin substitutes
  • Compression therapy
  • Negative pressure wound therapy
  • Offloading techniques such as total contact casting (equal distribution of foot pressure)

When is Wound Care an Emergency?

You may be able to treat minor wounds at home by washing the area with clean water and applying a bandage. However, if you experience an animal or human bite, or you have a cut that is greater than a half-inch long, and fat, muscle or bone is exposed, seek emergency care immediately.

Tags: Diabetes, Skin Health

Last Updated: June 7, 2016