As podiatrists, we are also experts in wound care below the knee. I believe it is important for all our patients to be better educated on wound healing so they can continue the healing process in between their visits to the Frederick Foot & Ankle offices. Below are some important factors that affect wound healing.
Circulation – Proper blood flow to the site of the wound is important because of all the necessary healing factors found in blood, such as; neutrophils, macrophages, lymphocytes, and oxygen. Those with circulation disorders, are going to have a slower healing process and therefore need to be even more vigilant of the site.
Nutrition – Although it is not an obvious factor what you consume does play a role in the healing process.
- Protein rich foods have been noted in several studies as providing the necessary building blocks for your skin to recover; beans, nuts, chicken, milk, and eggs are some examples of protein packed foods.
- Fatty Acids are what make up each of your cell membranes. Just remember to choose the healthy fats that are found in olives, avocados, salmon, and nuts.
- Carbohydrates are needed for their source of energy. Carbohydrates are good in moderation and the whole grain cereals and breads are the better choice.
- Vitamin C contains antioxidants and helps with the production of collagen. Antioxidants protect your body from potentially damaging oxidizing agents and collagen is a main component of skin and connective tissue. For a daily dose of vitamin C eat your leafy greens and citrus fruits.
- Vitamin A is needed for each of your cells to reproduce and keep chances of infection minimal. Many vegetables contain vitamin A, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash, to name a few.
- Zinc is needed for your immune system to stay alert and to aid in cell division. Zinc comes from some meats like turkey and lamb. For those that don’t eat meat zinc can be obtained from quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and lentils.
Smoking – Wound healing is another added benefit to quitting that habit. Cigarettes are toxic and slow your circulation causing less of those needed healing factors to reach the site of the wound.
Compression and Wound Care Bandages – With your skin no longer intact the wound care dressing acts as a temporary barrier from microbes as your skin continues to regenerate. The dressing doubles as a compression to the wound. Compression helps reduce swelling in the area, keeps blood flow moving through the veins, decreases pain, and reduces chances of a blood clot. Compression bandages can be paired with other compression aids like; compression socks and lymphedema pumps.
Wound Environment – In addition to keeping the wound covered, you should keep it moist. “Drying-out” the wound so a scab can form is an outdated and ineffective way to treat a wound. When the area is dry the scab creates a barrier that the wound healing cells of the body must work around.
For additional questions on how to properly care for your wound, do not hesitate to make an appointment with one of our well-trained podiatrist.