Gentle, Daily Care is Needed to Heal Skin Ulcers
If you have a round, open sore anywhere on your body that blisters or oozes, you may have a skin ulcer.
“Skin ulcers look like red, tender craters on the skin. They can heal slowly and could cause a considerable amount of pain,” says Dr. Jose Gomez, a board certified, wound care specialist at the Lakeland Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Lakeland Specialty Hospital in Berrien Center.
“People of any age can get skin ulcers, but they are particularly common in the elderly, among diabetic patients, and in those with poor circulation,” says Dr. Gomez.
There are many types of skin ulcers, the most common are:
- Venous Ulcers – are found on the lower legs and are caused by poor circulation in the leg veins. They often weep a clear fluid.
- Arterial Ulcers – are caused by poor circulation in the arteries. They are usually found on the feet, toes and toenails.
- Neuropathic Ulcers – usually appear on the bottom of the feet, and are common in diabetic patients.
- Pressure Ulcers – are often called “bedsores.” They are due to pressure on the skin caused by being in bed for long periods, or sitting in a wheelchair. Most often, they occur on the heels, ankles, elbows, hips and back.
“If you discover a skin wound or ulcer anywhere on your body, it is important to see your doctor promptly,” recommends Dr. Gomez. “Wounds can worsen and become infected if they’re not treated in a timely manner.”
Your doctor will show you or your care-giver how to gently clean your wound, each day, and keep it covered with an appropriate bandage, pad, or splint.
If you have a fever or infection, your doctor may also prescribe antibiotic creams or oral antibiotics until your wound has healed.
If you are suffering from chronic wounds, the Lakeland Center has many advanced treatment options which can help wounds heal, and keep them from re-occurring once healing has taken place.
“Most wounds may take weeks or months to heal,” says Dr. Gomez. “That’s why it’s important to get a quick diagnosis, and to work closely with your primary doctor to get the medical support you need during the healing process.”
To find a Lakeland physician call 1 (800)303-8399.