The Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Program at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center offers comprehensive treatment to help heal persistent wounds associated with diabetes and other conditions. “We don’t look at just the wound, but also what’s causing it,” says Cindy Rogers, MD, Medical Director. The goal is to determine an effective strategy to heal the wound, and then do whatever is needed to keep it from coming back, she says.
To help ensure the best outcomes, treatment is often coordinated with a patient’s primary care doctor. Also, because wounds can be associated with other conditions, such as diabetes or vascular issues, other medical specialists may be consulted. A wide range of treatment options are offered, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy. With this procedure, a patient lies down inside a pressurized chamber and breathes 100 percent oxygen to help accelerate the healing process.
As an important preventive measure, Dr. Rogers urges patients who have diabetes to check their feet every day. Sometimes, just a tiny pebble inside the sole of a shoe or a small blister can cause a significant problem, if not detected and addressed early.
“If a wound has not healed in four weeks, we advise people to come see us, and for patients with diabetes, we recommend coming after a couple of weeks, because problems can worsen quickly,” says Julie Brown, Director of the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Program. Treatment often requires commitment and dedication, but once the wound is healed, patients can “have their life back,” she says.
Summer Safety Reminders
It can be tempting to go barefoot when you’re hanging around the pool or enjoying other summer activities, but especially for patients who have diabetes, it’s important to wear proper shoes all the time to protect your feet from the hot ground and other potential irritants, says Julie Brown.
Spider bites, fireworks and grill accidents are other common sources of summertime wounds, Brown notes. Being mindful and practicing safe habits can help you make the most of the warm-weather season.