By: Tony Edwards for Scars1
Wounds and ulcers on your legs that just won’t heal can be more than just unsightly or disfiguring. They can be symptoms of deeper underlying problems, such as type 2 diabetes, neuropathy or other blood flow issues. These conditions can lead to serious medical consequences, such as limitations in mobility, amputation or even death if left untreated.
In patients with neuropathy, particularly neuropathy caused by diabetes, treatments need to include more than one component. If there is a wound, healing the wound is vital. The wound, particularly one on the patient’s foot or heel may be treated by offloading (reducing the weight on the wound), debridement (removing dead skin and tissue), medical management, and monitoring of the patient’s blood glucose. Other components may include diet and exercise.
See your physician or podiatrist. Neuropathy is a serious condition, but can be reversed. If you notice a lack of feeling in your feet, make an appointment immediately.
Don’t try this at home. Hyaluronic acid and the other wound care regimens mentioned are not self-treatments. The wound may be the result of an underlying disorder that needs to be treated.
Get plenty of exercise and drink enough fluids. Exercise helps with blood flow to all parts of the body and fluids help eliminate waste.
Talk with your doctor about your diet. The proper diet can contribute to your overall good health and to recovering from, or preventing, some of the conditions mentioned.
While there are numerous scar and wound care products on the market, not all of them work efficiently on all types of wounds. On wounds of the lower extremities (legs, knees, ankles, heels and feet) one treatment that has shown some success is a mixture of hyaluronic acid and sodium salt in a gel.
Hyaluronic acid is a component of human skin. Skin cells live in this acid. It binds water and makes the skin seem fuller when used as a soft-tissue filler to plump lips, for instance. Sometimes, hyaluronic acid is used to treat scars via injection.
In a study to determine if a gel made of hyaluronic acid and sodium salt can help patients with lower extremity wounds, Marnell Moore, a podiatrist from New Jersey, and colleagues in New Jersey and South Carolina, treated 11 patients with lower extremity ulcers caused by neuropathy, venous insufficiency and vascular conditions. The researchers wanted to see if the wound would heal faster, compared with other standard treatments.
After applying the gel solution to the wound, it was wrapped. The patients were instructed on care of the wound and asked to return to the clinic each week. The researchers measured the size of the wound each time the patient returned. They also measured the pain caused by the wound using a pain measurement scale.
The researchers reported that the wounds became smaller in size and the patients’ pain was also reduced during 11 follow up visits.
These results led the researchers to conclude that this specific gel type does promote wound healing and may become a cornerstone of treatment of these wounds in the future.