A collection of questions most often asked by patients concerning the treatment and prevention of hard-to-heal wounds

What are the most common hard-to-heal wounds?

The most common hard-to-heal wounds are leg ulcers, which include venous lower leg ulcers, arterial ulcers, arteriovenous ulcers and diabetic feet. Other hard-to-heal wounds include pressure sores, thermal and chemical injuries, burns and frostbite.

I am genetically burdened with the occurrence of varicose veins. Am I at risk of leg ulcers?

Yes, you are in the risk group.

Approximately 75% of lower leg ulcers are caused by advanced venous insufficiency of the lower extremities: the circulation is disturbed and the venous valves are damaged. In the initial stages of venous insufficiency, the legs feel heavy in the evening and ‘spider veins’ and reticular veins appear. Oedema develops as the condition progresses, first near the ankles and then round the entire lower legs. Varicose veins (i.e. permanently enlarged superficial veins) may develop over time. Advanced venous insufficiency in the lower extremities can cause wounds to form.

I have varicose veins – whom should I ask for advice? Can I use specialised dressings as a preventive measure?

It is best to seek the advice of a general practitioner. They may refer you to a specialist surgeon or vascular surgeon.

If the epidermis remains intact (i.e. there are no wounds), you should not use specialised dressings as a preventive measure. In the event of any doubts or concerns, consult a physician.

How can I prevent varicose veins and lower leg ulcers?

The simplest prevention method is MOVEMENT. Consider taking up walking, cycling or swimming. Physical activity triggers the ‘calf muscle pump’. Leg muscle contractions stimulate venous circulation. Efficient circulation is the best protection against disease.

Where can I buy specialised dressings?

You can only purchase state-reimbursed dressings at a chemist’s, with a properly issued prescription. If the chemist does not have such dressings in stock, they can be ordered from a medical wholesaler within 48 hours.

Non-reimbursed dressings (i.e. sold at full price) can be purchased in chemist’s, medical supply shops or online. 

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