Doctor, I’m a 32-year old man living Lagos. Last December, I sustained an injury on my left leg and this has become a great source of worry to me. Sometimes it heals only to open up again after a short while. I’d taken several injections and antibiotics from two private clinics yet, it seems I may have to live with the sore forever.
I find it rather embarrassing to be tying bandage on my leg all the time. Please doctor, what can I do to achieve a permanent healing? Please help.
NHO doctor says:
The wound you have on your leg may be what is referred to as a topical ulcer. This is a wound that normally takes a long time to heal and may destroy a lot of tissues to almost the surface of the bone.
It usually starts as a small wound and spreads progressively until it becomes an almost permanent ulcer. There are various ways of treating this form of ulcer.
For a start, you need to be immunised against tetanus. You will then need a long course of antibiotics, depending on the sensitivity report on the wound swab.
Of course the wound must be kept clean and regularly dressed to avoid a superimposed infection. Sometimes, a foreign body (e.g. a piece of wood or metal shrapnel) may be in the wound either as a primary agent of the injury or as a secondary agent from contamination.
This foreign body can prevent a wound from healing. The only way to deal with this is to remove the foreign agent by exploring the wound.
In some other situations when the tissue destruction is extensive, it may be impossible for the natural process of healing to cover up the site.
In this kind of situation, the skin covering the site may be too thin to keep up with the normal wear and tear of daily activities. In this regard, a skin graft may help to abridge the ulcer and accelerate healing process. You will need a plastic surgeon to help you if this is the problem.
Sometimes, poor sanitation can cause failure of wound to heal properly so you will need to watch your diet. Eat plenty of proteins and take regular vitamins particularly the ones that help healing processes.
As a first step, if the wound breaks down again, you should have a swab taken for culture and sensitivity and be treated accordingly.
You may not need more than this measure provided you avoid frequent frictions over this area.