Non Healing Wounds

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. 

An ounce of prevention

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!

Outside Influences That Slow The Healing Process

In addition to the intrinsic natural aging process, there are outside influences that influence and slow skin healing that include smoking, pollution, sunlight, medications and illnesses.

Chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease may come with aging.  Associated medication use, circulatory problems, balance impairment and normal aging skin changes are risk factors that may lead to lower extremity wounds.  Aging affects all components of the healing process creating a longer healing process and often leading to painful draining chronic wounds.  Chronic wounds start a cycle of loss of independence, increased cost, and debility. 

 

Aging Skin

Living longer is a blessing and a curse in some ways.  The longer we live, the risk of getting a chronic illness such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease increases.  Normal intrinsic age related changes in skin coupled with a chronic illness adversely affects wound healing particularly in the lower extremity. 

Natural aging is a continual process programmed by inherited genes.  Regenerative cellular processes slow down causing thin, dry, itchy skin that is susceptible to skin tears.  When blood thinners or steroid medications are taken on a continual basis, the skin is more susceptible to tears and wounds that often never heal.  A protective device such as ShinGrins may help prevent painful, costly, debilitation lower extremity wounds. 

Ouch! Another Lower Leg Bruise

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. 

Lower Extremity Wounds are Slow to Heal

Nonhealing wounds are typically in the lower extremities. Beginning with an injury, damaged blood vessels create a cascade of events that help blood to clot.  Growth factors are released that attract inflammatory cells to the area of trauma to destroy bacteria.  Repetitive trauma to the same area cause continual inflammation and non healing.  ShinGrins may help to minimize this trauma. 

Importance of Skin

Skin is an important part of our integumentary system that includes nails, hair and glands.  Comprised of 3 layers, epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous, each layer is responsible for different vital and necessary functions. The dermis provides strength to skin by producing collagen or connective tissue as well as a flexible reticular layer allowing for elasticity.  The subcutaneous layer provides a layer of fat responsible for insulation, shape and cushioning.  The normal process of aging causes the following:  Decreased water content, reduction in tissue strength, compromised integrity between the skin layers, atrophy of apocrine and sebaceous glands, increased drying of the skin, diminished subcutaneous tissue, poor peripheral vasculature and fragile small vessels  in extremities. It is important to protect skin integrity for many reasons:  Skin manufactures Vitamin D, delivers medications, provides perspiration for temperature regulation, protects against bacterial infection and keeps internal organs together and provides sensory stimulation.


The Goal of ShinGrins

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"Over the years, I have treated many people suffering from painful, debilitating wounds in the lower extremities.  Patient and Practitioner agree there should be a simple, practical solution to help prevent injuries to the sensitive area around the shin.  ShinGrins is the easy, affordable, and comfortable shin protection designed for that purpose."


-Mary Jean O'Connor, DNP,FNP