Nurses should be celebrated year round for their contributions to the health and well-being of patients, and this week Nurses Week has health care centers acknowledging those contributions. In the care of foot and ankle conditions, nurses often play a huge role in following through with treatment plans. Many patients with chronic wounds or ulcers on their feet require the assistance of a home nurse to aid in dressing changes and care in the interval between visits to the podiatrist.
The first goal in the treatment of a chronic wound is to identify the cause of the wound’s inability to heal. There are three phases of healing that all wounds must go as they close: the inflammatory, proliferative and remodeling phase. In these phases bacteria and dead tissue are first cleared from the wound, then skin cells and blood supply are restored, and finally strength is developed in the healing tissue. When one of the components needed to proceed through of any of these phases is lacking, healing becomes stalled. Infection, poor blood flow, excessive pressure and poor nutrition are a few of the major factors that can cause impaired healing. Infection is treated with antibiotics and physically removing the infection from the wound by debridement. Poor blood supply often requires a visit to a vascular specialist who can “unclog” or “reroute” blood flow so that it may reach the wound area. Poor blood return, or venous insufficiency, is most often treated with pressure dressings that will stop blood from pooling in the legs. Pressure must be addressed by offloading a wound with padding, and often special shoe gear. In individuals with diabetes, excessive pressure that occurs when there is neuropathy, or lack of sensation, causes a higher risk of wound development and difficulty healing.
Dressing a wound contributes to the healing process by aiding in the removal of the harmful factors that impair healing, activating healing and adding cells and molecules that will improve healing. The ideal moist wound environment will promote skin and blood vessel cell growth, promote the removal of bacteria and dead tissue by cells in the body and impede the development of further dead and unhealthy tissue. Dressings will also protect the wound from trauma and bacteria. In a wound in which there is an excessive amount of drainage, frequent dressing changes are necessary to attain the ideal healing environment. Nurses and home health aides play a key role in assisting patients at home in applying dressings as needed between visits to their podiatrist.
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more tips for healthier and happier feet or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.
Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.