As a Nurse Practitioner I focus my care on prevention of problems and complications. One way to help protect our lower legs is to wear ShinGrins. Think of that old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". Lower leg wounds could take many weeks to heal, become infected, painful, and cost much time and money. Wear ShinGrins with confidence and be smart about protection and prevention. Life is to short and time is to precious to be spending it at the wound care clinics! So feel great about wearing the ShinGrins and don't feel bad.
Aging skin requires a gentle touch. Caregivers, helpers, spouses and even our own nails can easily tear the skin. Any quick movement or rough handling can cause a skin tear. Wearing long sleeves may help protect the arms and ShinGrins may help protect the lower legs. People who are ambulating are particularly prone to skin tears in the lower extremities. Simple daily routine activities can turn into a painful and frustrating event. Handle with care and prevent painful wounds.
Skin may seem transparent, pale and thin with age. Deposits of pigmented patches, freckles, and hypo pigmented patches give the appearance of irregularity. The skin becomes drier, and flaky over the extremities and loses the elasticity of youth. The skin is thinner over bony prominences and more prone to injury. Aging has a direct influence on the ability for a wound to heal. The increased frequency of skin trauma in the aging population relate to function and structure of aging skin, balance, medications, immune system, and other medical problems. The aging population requires education and prevention of illness and traumatic injuries including skin wounds. ShinGrins may help protect the lower extremities from bruises, bumps and wounds.
Skin tears in the lower extremities are common. The increased cost of wound care, healthcare provider visits, dressing changes, creams and fillers, and medicines far outweigh the cost of prevention. The pain of a wound in the lower extremity is both physical and emotional. My own study demonstrated a need to prevent lower extremity wounds particularly in people with diabetes, impaired gait, and on blood thinners and prednisone. There are many conditions associated with increased risk for lower extremity wounds and extended healing time including age, BMI, nutritional intake, medication, activity activity level and chronic illness. Lower extremity wounds could take a month to heal or longer. Often there will be another injury and the cycle of pain and wound care starts all over again.
Wounds that become chronic may require specialized wound care management. A wound that does not heal after 8 weeks has become chronic. See your healthcare provider immediately after sustaining a lower extremity injury to start appropriate treatment immediately. Prevention of wounds in the lower legs is the best way to manage a wound.
Common medications that impair wound healing include and not limited to: Prednisone, Furosemide, Spironolactone, Captopril, Levodopa-carpodopa, Metformin, Tamoxifen, Methotrexate, NSAIDS, and Testosterone. People taking medications that may impair wound healing need to be extra careful to protect the skin.
People taking blood thinners, steroids, or those with peripheral vascular disease, circulation problems, impaired gait or just plain clumsy, may sustain an injury to the lower extremity that may never heal due to repeated trauma in the same area. Other factors that may contribute to non healing of a wound include infection, lack of circulation to the wound from a blood clot or other circulation problems, dead tissue in the wound bed, and skin cancers. The wound that does not heal is in a state of chronic inflammation that contributes to the inability to heal. Protecting the lower leg may help to reduce the trauma to this sensitive and delicate area.
Approximately 40% of people over 65 suffer with a chronic condition such as diabetes, malnutrition, stroke, dementia, falls and sensory deficits. Chronic conditions will increase the risk of skin damage such as wounds, skin tears and ulcers. Wounds often cause bleeding, pain, infection and trouble healing. They are costly and can be debilitating. The best way to manage a wound is to prevent it in the first place. Wearing some type of protection may help minimize traumatic injury to the lower extremities. It won't hurt to try!