A chronic wound is an acute wound that doesn’t repair itself in a normal, expected timeline. An acute wound will progress through hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling without issue. Whereas in the case of a chronic wound, complications begin during the inflammation stage. If a wound hasn’t produced anatomic and functional integrity in three months, then it is considered chronic.
Chronic wounds are common, often incorrectly treated, and are associated with morbidities and high costs. A German study found a 1 to 2 per cent prevalence of chronic wounds in the general population. The estimated cost of wound care for Medicare beneficiaries is as high as nearly $100 billion in the US.
The most common types of chronic wounds include:
- Venous ulcers
- Arterial ulcers
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Pressure ulcers
- Infectious wounds
- Ischemic wounds
- Surgical wounds
- Radiation poisoning wounds
Diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, obesity, age, and more are all risk factors that can cause chronic wounds. For example, the five-year mortality rate after developing a diabetic ulcer is 40 per cent. A chronic wound can sometimes take decades to heal, contributing to secondary conditions like depression.
Treating Chronic Wounds
Conservative treatment for a chronic wound focuses on keeping the wound clean and dry, using proper dressings and replacing them regularly, and monitoring the wound for any change in colour, foul odour, or discharge. More invasive treatments include debridement or surgery to avoid necrosis.
Shockwave therapy, which uses acoustic pressure waves to boost metabolism and circulation to an affected area, is a drug-free and non-invasive treatment modality for chronic wounds.
A study published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice compared the effectiveness of treating chronic diabetic foot ulcers with shockwave therapy to hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Researchers treated thirty-nine patients (forty-four feet) with shockwave therapy twice per week for six total treatments and thirty-eight patients (forty feet) with hyperbaric oxygen therapy daily for twenty total treatments.
For the shockwave group, 57 per cent had completely healed ulcers, 32 per cent had improved ulcers, and 11 per cent were unchanged. For the hyperbaric group, 25 per cent had completely healed ulcers, 15 per cent had improved ulcers, and 60 per cent were unchanged. The shockwave group also had significantly better blood flow, increased cell proliferation, and decreased cell apoptosis compared to the hyperbaric group.
Moreover, even among the patients that didn’t improve, their wounds did not worsen or show any side effects from either treatment method.
Researchers concluded that shockwave therapy leads to “significant improvement in blood flow perfusion rate and cell activity leading to better healing of…diabetic foot ulcers.”
Healthcare professionals of all fields can use Shockwave Canada technology to treat chronic wounds like diabetic foot ulcers as well as scar tissue and frozen shoulder. We are Canada’s exclusive distributor of Storz shockwave devices, which have been leading the industry for thirty years.
Call 1 (888) 741-SHOC(7462) or visit our website to learn more about integrating shockwave technology into your practice.