Common Causes and Types of Wounds

Common Causes and Types of Wounds


Medical conditions such as diabetes, vascular diseases that restrict blood flow such as Peripheral Arterial Disease and any disorder that compromises the immune system can contribute to a non healing chronic wound. In addition infections, skin cancers, burns, and trauma to the feet and ankles can contribute to a non-healing chronic wound. Being immobile can cause a pressure ulcer as a result of localized restriction of blood flow and even a surgical incision can become chronic from infection.

Other factors that can contribute to a slow healing process are hemorrhaging, dead skin or necrosis, poor diet, age, certain medications, smoking, varicose veins, and excessive dryness.

The types of wounds that are prone to become non healing chronic wounds are:

  • Venous ulcers: occurs when the valves that prevent backflow in the veins become faulty resulting in venous congestion and tissue breakdown. Venous ulcerations are the most common type of ulcer affecting the lower extremities.
  • Pressure ulcers: occur when compression of soft tissue, usually by a bony prominence and another hard surface such as a poorly fitting shoe, impairs circulation resulting in the death of the tissue.
  • Arterial ulcers: occur due to compromised arterial blood flow as a result of hardening of the arteries or a buildup of plaques and fats in the arteries. These types of ulcers are typically located on the lower leg, foot, or toes.
  • Neuropathic ulcers: are caused by the decreased sensation in the nerves from peripheral nerve damage, usually from diabetes. Undetected pressure to the plantar surface of the foot can result in an ulcer.

If you suspect that a wound on your feet or ankles has become a chronic wound you need to contact your podiatrist immediately. At your appointment the podiatrist will conduct a comprehensive medical examination, discuss your medical history, and take a biopsy or culture of the wound to detect any pathogens. Be sure to discuss any concerns or questions with you podiatrist.

Patients with medical conditions that predispose them to a chronic wound should monitor their feet and ankles closely and report any and all problems they may have to insure the health and wellness of their lower extremities.