Non-healing wounds can be a serious problem... especially for people with diabetes. Treating them is the topic of tonight's Ask the Doctor segment.

Dr. Todd Inman is the medical director of The Wound Care Center at Northern Nevada Medical Center. To speak with him, dial 858-2222 between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. tonight.

Wounds that do not move through the various stages of healing as anticipated are characterized as "chronic." At The Wound Care Center® at Northern Nevada Medical Center, a team of physicians, nurses and technicians are all specially trained in caring for wounds and managing the broader issues that prevent wounds from healing. 

Here Todd Inman, MD, Medical Director of The Wound Care Center®, answers a few questions.   

Why do some wounds take so long to heal?

There are numerous reasons why a wound might not heal. Infection can slow the process as germs enter the wound and make it worse, and poor circulation can cause wounds to heal more slowly. For example, narrowing of the blood vessels that transport oxygen or problems with the leg veins, like venous valve insufficiency, can cause difficult-to-heal leg or foot ulcers. Diabetes and cancer can slow healing, and any kind of immune suppressive disorder can cause wounds to linger.

What are some signs that a wound is not healing properly?

Generally, if a wound does not at least begin to heal in five days, it's considered chronic. Also, look for swelling that doesn't go away, continuous pain, fluid draining from the wound, or if the wound reappears after it has healed.

How are chronic wounds treated?

Immediate treatment at The Wound Care Center® involves thorough cleaning and dressing. Specialty options are also available, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), debridement to remove unhealthy tissue, use of advanced wound care dressings and topical products, and infection therapy.