Ulcers treated by the Wound Care Centre
An arterial ulcer
is a wound in the leg or foot that resembles a black area, surrounded by white, cold skin. It is caused by poor circulation: the blood (which carries oxygen) does not arrive in the feet. Without oxygen, the skin dies. It's a very painful disease, with intense pain that increases particularly at night, and every time you put your feet up or when walking. One parameter for assessing the severity of poor circulation is to measure how many metres you are able to walk before giving you a sharp pain in the calf ("claudication"). At the Centre for Problematic Wound Care (CCFD), it heals, on average, three months after the first appointment.
A lymphatic or venous ulcer
is a wound in the leg which presents as a cavity (loss of substance) from which fluid exits (dressings are often wet and dirty). It is caused by the malfunction of several valves that are found in the veins, the vessels that carry blood from the feet to the heart, or by damage to the lymphatic vessels, which serve to drain the human body. The valves of the veins force the blood to move always and only from the base (feet) upward (heart). When you break the valves, the blood rushes downwards, so your legs and feet swell. In both venous and lymphatic ulcers, compression by bandaging can lead to an improvement, as well as frequent walking (to facilitate the movement of the blood) or holding the legs at rest, raised high relative to the heart. Sometimes you need a surgical intervention to replace the broken veins or lymph vessels. At the Centre for Problematic Wound Care (CCFD), venous or lymphatic ulcers on average heal within three months from the first appointment.
A traumatic ulcer
is a wound in any part of the body caused by trauma (an accident, cut, blast, burn, frostbite, firearm or other). It looks like a hole, which is frequently infected. It is more severe in people over forty years of age, and if there is damage to the bone, circulation or nerves. At the Centre for Problematic Wound Care, traumatic ulcers heal on average three months after the first visit.
A rheumatic ulcer
is a wound in any part of the body caused by bad, intoxicated blood. It occurs in people who suffer from cancer, diseases of the liver and intestine, rheumatism and chronic skin diseases (scleroderma, lupus, etc.), and diseases of the blood vessels (vasculitis). These are extremely painful wounds. The pain is continuous, sometimes very strong (as if a dog is biting). They are difficult to recognize and treat because patients complain of a range of problems (there are as many problems as there are stars in the sky) and only an expert can understand this condition (just like an expert in astronomy, looking at the night sky, can recognize the constellations).
is a foot wound that occurs in diabetic patients. There are three types: those due to the malfunctioning of the nerves (it heals mostly by avoiding walking); those due to poor circulation (it heals by modifying the circulation with surgery) and a type which is caused by malfunctioning of the circulatory nerves. It's simply an infection that can worsen to gangrene of the foot requiring amputation of the affected part. At the Care Centre for Problematic Wounds these heal, on average, three months after the first visit, and the leg can be saved in one out of three patients already destined for amputation. The Region of Emilia Romagna assessed that in the period 2005-2007, in Ravenna, the probability of having a leg amputated because of a diabetes complication was half that of the rest of the region.
A pressure ulcer
is a wound in any part of the body caused by the pressure of the bed or wheelchair if the person is immobile (due to an accident or other serious illness). Its simply a very serious infection. Often, you will see a cavity or a black area that is just the tip of the iceberg (the disease digs under the skin and the cavity is much bigger than you might think). It is important to move the patient frequently, treat the supply and use supports (mattresses, wheelchairs, braces) specifically designed to prevent pressure ulcers occurring. At the Centre for Problematic Wound Care (CCFD), these wounds heal or becomes ready for plastic surgery, on average, three months after the first visit.