Preventative Care

Premier Physician Network providers answer frequently asked questions about preventative care.

How Should I Care for a Sore that Won’t Heal?

Everyone has cuts or scrapes that heal with little care and no worries. But it can be common to have a sore that will not heal, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), especially if you have certain health conditions. These kinds of open sores are also known as wounds or skin ulcers.

There are four common types of sores that don’t heal well on their own, according to the NIH:

  • Venous ulcers
    • Usually found on the inner part of the leg, between the knee and the ankle.
    • Caused by leg veins that don’t work well, leaving blood to pool in the lower leg.
    • The bottom of a venous ulcer is red in color, and the ulcer might have a yellow or white film over it.
    • Most people with these ulcers have swelling in one or both legs.
  • Arterial ulcers
    • Usually found on the feet – between the toes, the tips of the toes, the heels or other spots where the feet rub against things.
    • Develop when blood is not moving well through the feet, usually because of a condition in which arteries narrow due to fatty substances sticking to artery wells.
    • Can be painful.
    • Usually look like they are sunken beneath the skin.
    • The area around the sore can look yellow, brown, black or gray.
  • Diabetic ulcers
    • Usually caused by diabetes, which can slow the healing time of wounds any where on the body. Diabetes can also cause damage to blood vessels, making it hard for oxygen and nutrients to reach tissue.
    • Usually found on the feet. You may not notice small cracks on cuts on your feet because of diabetes-related nerve damage. These cracks and cuts can lead to a diabetic sore.
  • Pressure ulcers
    • Common and can develop quickly.
    • Can appear when an area of skin dies because of prolonged pressure.
    • While they’re often called bedsores, pressure sores can happen anywhere, including on elbows, the back, ankles, hips and heels.

If you have a sore, make sure you treat it properly. Without the right care, the sore could get infected, which could harm nearby bones and other body parts or the entire body, according to the NIH.

Source: Suzanne Bell, MD, Vandalia Family Care; Tracie Bolden, MD, Fairfield Road Physician Offices; Timothy Markus, MD, Dayton Heart Center; Allison Mendenhall, PA-C, Troy Primary Care Physicians; Katrina Paulding, MD, Samaritan North Family Physicians; Breanna Veal, PA-C, Walden Ponds Primary Care: James Halderman, MD, Jamestown Family Medicine; Christopher Lauricella, DO, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Marcus Washington, MD, Premier Health Family Medicine; Ann DeClue, MD, Ann DeClue, MD; Angelia Mickle, DNP, Jamestown Family Medicine; Leelmohan Ravikumar, MD, Troy Primary Care Physicians; Aaron Block, MD, MPH, Franklin Family Practice; Mansi Amin, DO, SureCare Medical Center, Tammy Taylor, DO, The Pediatric Group