A new version of our website is now available. Visit the new and redesigned BJC.org experience.

Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web

Why Detecting Wounds Early is Essential to Your Health

June 13, 2023
June 13, 2023

Wounds that won’t heal may raise concern. Nearly seven million Americans live with chronic wounds. Knowing how to detect wounds and seeking treatment early is critical to prevent pain, loss of function, hospitalization and other medical complications.

What are chronic wounds?

Chronic or non-healing wounds are those that fail to timely progress through the healing process. The longer chronic or non-healing wounds go without proper treatment the greater the chance of infection, hospitalization or even amputation.

Non-healing wounds can stem from minor common occurrences like blisters, bug bites, cuts or scratches. Several risks factors can further delay or stop the healing process, such as:

  • Advanced age.
  • Excess body weight.
  • Chronic health conditions like diabetes, peripheral artery disease or heart disease.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Unhealthy habits such as smoking and alcohol use.

Wounds that fail to heal can diminish a person’s quality of life and lead to other medical problems.

Treatment and prevention

Most non-healing wounds — whether from trauma, infection, hospitalization, chronic illnesses, poor circulation, immobility, surgery or other underlying health issues — will heal with proper treatment.

Comprehensive wound treatment options focus on rapid healing as well as addressing underlying causes of hard-to-heal wounds to ultimately improve quality of life with reduced pain.

Still, prevention is key to reduce risks from chronic wounds.

Adopt healthy habits:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your doctor what’s right for you.
  • Eat well. If you have diabetes, manage your blood sugar.
  • Exercise every day. Walking and chair-based exercises help improve circulation.
  • If you smoke, stop. Smoking prevents healing. Call your doctor if you need help or resources to stop smoking.

If you have underlying conditions, make foot care a priority:

  • Inspect your feet daily and never go barefoot.
  • Keep toenails clean.
  • Always wear supportive socks and shoes.
  • See a medical professional for regular foot care.

Stay vigilant:

  • Change position every 15 minutes when seated. If you have limited mobility, have a caregiver help you move every two hours.
  • Avoid sitting with crossed legs, which can limit circulation and increase pressure on blood vessels.
  • Check for wounds, potential problem areas or pressure injuries every day.
  • Recognize and respond to any pain and discomfort from existing wounds.

If you notice a problem, seek professional treatment early to ensure proper healing. The wound centers at BJC HealthCare treat several non-healing and chronic wound conditions, including:

  • Surgical wounds
  • Osteomyelitis (bone infections) with an open wound
  • Arterial and venous ulcers
  • Diabetic foot ulcers and diabetic wounds
  • Pressure ulcers (bed sores)
  • Traumatic wounds
  • Burns
  • Radiation damage
  • Skin tears and lacerations
  • Infected wounds

* Information provided by Healogics Inc., a leader in wound care for more than 20 years. Select wound care centers at BJC HealthCare hospitals are managed by Healogics.

If you feel you have a wound that won’t heal, contact one of BJC HealthCare’s wound care centers throughout the St. Louis area, including eastern Missouri and southern Illinois, as well as in Sullivan and Farmington, Missouri.

< Back

4901 Forest Park Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63108
Copyright © 1997- 2024 BJC HealthCare. All Rights Reserved.