Weeping legs. Gaping holes. Bloody feet.

The effects of wounds that won’t heal can be unsightly. Even worse – wounds that won’t heal are prone to infection. If not resolved, an infected wound can result in amputation or even death.

If you or someone you love has a wound that won’t heal, below are five possible reasons why:

  1. Infection. Infections may extend the length of inflammation, interrupt a wound’s healing stages or interfere with clotting. Infection and bacteria result in a slower-healing wound.
  2. Chronic wound. Chronic wounds are sores that may have started from a small scratch and simply haven’t healed within three months. These wounds are primarily known as diabetic ulcers, venous leg ulcers and pressure ulcers.

Seek medical attention when noticing chronic wound symptoms, like limb swelling, limb weeping, tissue decay and neuropathy. Many times an underlying cause, like constant pressure from being in a wheelchair or not moving enough, is to blame.

  1. Diabetes. Chronic diseases like diabetes can impact blood circulation and create trouble when injuries occur. Diabetes causes high levels of blood glucose, which can impact the nervous and venous system over time and lead to improper blood circulation. This, in return, causes difficulty for skin reparation.
  2. Poor circulation. When a wound happens, blood transports cells to the injury site to reestablish veins and other damaged tissue structures. Poor circulation prolongs or prevents the healing process.
  3. Alcohol, cigarettes and narcotics. Heavy drinking, smoking, and using narcotics not only impairs judgment but can impact the immune system leading to more inflammation.

 When a wound won’t heal, advanced wound therapies can help. In some cases, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can be used with advanced wound therapies. HBOT fights infections, heals wounds and treat conditions including carbon monoxide/cyanide, sudden hearing loss, radiation injury and chronic wounds. HBOT is a specialized treatment in which patients breathe pure oxygen inside a pressurized chamber. Pure oxygen penetrates areas that normal oxygen-carrying red blood cells can’t reach. As a result, HBOT revitalizes tissues and stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and helps the body fight infection.

JRMC Wound Center nurse practitioner, Amanda Lausch shared, “Nonhealing wounds can have many reasons for not healing.” She continued, “When your wound will not heal, come to JRMC to see our team of advanced wound specialists who will help find out why your wound is not progressing and get you healed up! This will include using advanced therapies and sometimes hyperbaric therapy.”

The JRMC Wound Center is the only hospital in North Dakota to offer HBOT.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is covered by most medical insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid. Contact your health insurance provider to find out more about what is covered and what costs may be out of pocket. If further financial assistance is needed, contact the JRMC business office and speak with a financial counselor at (701) 952-4823.


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