Treatment of chronic wounds or wounds that do not heal is not a simple course and one type of treatment does not fit all patients.
At The Wound Care Clinics in the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute, we use a broad-based approach to treat wounds by a team of experts.
The first step is to find the underlying cause of the problem. Lower extremity wounds, such as leg and foot sores, can be caused by one or a combination of problems including poor circulation, diabetes and other medical problems.
The goals of treatment are to:
- Heal the wound
- Relieve pain
- Regain a high quality of life
- Keep the wound from returning. This is very important as up to 30 percent of patients with diabetes will develop recurrent wounds.
These experts work together to determine the cause of the ulcer and develop an individualized treatment program.
Many of our patients who have successful treatment have previously been told that the only option is major amputation, such as a below-knee or above-knee amputation. Cleveland Clinic’s Wound Care Clinics are set apart by the use of a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to limb salvage.
Treatment plans are customized to each patient’s needs and are developed through collaboration among experts in:
- Vascular Medicine and Vascular Surgery
- Heart Disease
- Diabetes or Endocrinology
- Plastic Surgery
- Infectious Disease
Our Wound Care Team provides current, state-of-the-art treatment for chronic non-healing wounds. Individualized wound care protocols are carefully designed with the whole patient in mind to relieve pain, speed recovery and heal the wound. Treatment plans include:
- Advanced technologies for diagnosis and treatment
- Topical wound care dressings and therapies
- Antibiotics, if an infection is present
- Antiplatelet or anticoagulation medications when needed to prevent blood clots from occurring
- Compression garments
- Interventional and surgical treatment to improve poor circulation and heal skin
- Prosthetics or orthotics, which can restore or improve everyday function
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Once the care plan is developed, the wound care team will teach you and your family members or caregivers how to care for your wound at home. You will also be given written instructions and resources who to call at home should you have questions.
You are encouraged to take an active part in your care plan by:
- Keeping the wound clean and dry
- Changing the dressing as directed
- Taking prescribed medications as directed
- Drinking plenty of fluid
- Following a healthy diet, as recommended, including plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Exercising regularly, as directed by a physician
- Wearing appropriate shoes
- Wearing compression wraps, if appropriate, as directed
Your assessment will start with wound care vascular specialists from the Heart and Vascular Institute who will use the latest diagnostic techniques and review prior medical and treatment history to determine the best treatment plan for you. This group of physicians will evaluate you and begin to develop your plan of care. Subsequently, based on your evaluation, they may refer you to their colleagues in cardiology, endocrinology, infectious disease, dermatology, and orthopedics.
We have wound care experts at our Cleveland Clinic main campus as well as Marymount, South Pointe, Hillcrest, Lutheran and Medina Hospitals and several Family Health Centers throughout the region.
Experts in the Wound Care Clinic care for a variety of wounds on all parts of the body including:
- Lower extremity Venous stasis ulcers
- Neurotrophic (diabetic) wounds
- Arterial (ischemic) ulcers
- Traumatic wounds
- Non-healing post surgery wounds
- Pressure related wounds
- Other non-healing wounds
The Wound Care Clinic team will work with you to take steps to prevent wounds from developing in the future.
- Do not smoke
- Eat a proper diet
- Control your blood sugar and manage diabetes if necessary
- Manage your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Wear proper footwear and/or compression garments if directed
- Exercise regularly under your doctor’s guidance
- Decreasing your risk factors for vascular disease, heart disease and stroke
- Treat other underlying conditions that put you at risk for foot and leg ulcers
Our goal at the Wound Care Clinic at Cleveland Clinic is to not only treat your wound but prevent wounds from occurring in the future. We are dedicated to and passionate about saving limbs (limb salvage). We work with many patients each year and know how limb salvage significantly impacts your health, your quality of life, and your outlook on life.