Megan Allen never anticipated a simple callus on her right foot would develop in to a chronic wound impacting her life for more than four months.
Chronic wounds caused by pressure injuries, venous leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers and arterial insufficiency ulcers (result of slowed or blocked arterial blood flow) affect more than 420,000 Australians, accounting for a national healthcare cost of $3 billion.
Following her experience, 48-year-old Megan is seeking to highlight the prevalence of chronic wounds this Wound Awareness Week 15 to 21 July.
“I have been managing Type 1 Diabetes for the past 26 years through healthy diet and regular exercise,” Megan said.
“The callus didn’t particularly bother me but I began feeling quite unwell with back pain and the callus soon turned in to an infected chronic wound.
“I visited the Base Hospital and was sent for an ECG scan which confirmed the severity of the wound.”
Megan was required to undertake two surgical procedures and commenced the healing process through her GP and the Base Hospital.
“Managing the wound involved wearing a moonboot for protection on my right leg which meant I was favouring my left. As a result, I developed an injury to my left leg, so that was another hurdle I had to overcome.”
Mackay Base Hospital advanced podiatrist Alicia Boylan says the 2019 Wound Awareness Week theme, ‘Let’s talk about wounds’, is an opportunity to shine a light on the lesser known and talked about issue of wound care and management.
“Many people live with wounds and think that ignoring it or waiting out the healing process will make it go away; it won’t,” Alicia said.
“Healing a wound, particularly a chronic wound, is a complex process and it can be a painful and emotional experience for the person and their family.
“If left untreated, chronic wounds can lead to diminished quality of life and possibly amputation of the affected limb.
“The good news is comprehensive treatment and support is available and we encourage people to talk to their healthcare provider about wound management when symptoms appear.”
Megan has now recovered from her wound and is back enjoying an active lifestyle.
“My advice to anyone with a wound that isn’t healing is not be complacent and seek medical advice immediately.”
Warning signs that wound needs to be seen by a healthcare provider:
• Pain and heat: Wounds that are red, swollen, hot to touch and very painful
• Odour: Wounds with a strange or unpleasant smell
• Excess Fluid: Wounds that have a thick, yellowish fluid
• Slow healing: Wounds taking longer than a month to heal or keep returning
• Presence of Chronic Disease and/or ageing: People over 65 years and/or with chronic diseases such as diabetes, vascular disease are more at risk
Amie Galletly | Communications Officer | 4885 6808