Wound Healing

UPMC Content 2

Poor circulation can lead to skin changes on the feet and legs, including sores — also known as venous ulcers. It can also lead to nonhealing wounds.

If left untreated, these wounds can cause serious complications like gangrene or even limb loss.

What Causes Nonhealing Wounds?

Many health conditions can cause nonhealing wounds or ulcers, including:

Diabetic neuropathy — or nerve damage caused by diabetes — may also lead to nonhealing wounds on your feet.

Wound Complications

If left untreated, nonhealing wounds may lead to gangrene or tissue death.

Once tissue dies, doctors must remove it — sometimes through total amputation.

Wound Healing Treatments

Your UPMC vascular surgeon will suggest the best treatment based on the cause, location, and severity of your wounds.

Some wound healing treatments include:

  • Compression therapy – Stockings or Unna boots offsets the pressure in the veins in the legs and allow venous ulcer wounds to heal.
  • Transparent dressings – A clear, plastic-like film applied over the wound and compression stocking protects the wound bed.
  • Hydrocolloid dressings – Dressings applied over ulcers promote healing and may help remove nonliving tissue from the wound (debridement).
  • Growth factors – Medicines applied to the wound may help promote healing.
  • Wound debridement – Minor surgery can remove any nonliving tissue around the wound.
  • Vacuum-assisted closure – Continuous suction to the wound bed may promote healing.

Make an Appointment for Wound Healing Care

To make an appointment with a vascular expert at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute: