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The Basics of Ulcer Management: Achieving Moist Wound Healing

The Basics of Ulcer Management: Achieving Moist Wound Healing

Allowing an ulcer to dry out impedes the healing process. Maintaining a moist environment has been shown to improve healing rates compared to dry ulcers (1). There are a variety of dressing that can assist with maintaining the optimal moisture and environment for wound healing. Some methods to optimize a moist wound environment include:

  • Hydrogel dressings that promote moist wound bed
  • Hydrocolloid dressings that absorb exudate
  • Foam dressings that maintain moisture
  • Topical emollients if ulcer is dry
  • Covering ulcer with semi-permeable film dressing

Controlling Pressure and Swelling 

Excess pressure on an ulcer further damages tissue and restricts blood flow. Steps to offload pressure:

  • Redistribute body weight with special mattresses and cushions (2)
  • Use appropriate casting, bracing or orthotics to avoid putting pressure on ulcer
  • Limit time bearing weight on ulcer - use ambulation aids
  • Elevate affected limbs to reduce swelling
  • Apply compression bandages or garments if vascular insufficiency

Statistics on Chronic Ulcers 

  • The most frequent ulcers are venous leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, arterial ulcers and pressure ulcers (3)
  • Venous leg ulcers affect 600,000-1 million people in the US annually (4)
  • Diabetic foot ulcers affect 15-25% of people with diabetes in their lifetime (5)

Nutrition and Supplements 

Optimal ulcer healing requires proper nutrition and key nutrients:

  • Increase protein intake - supports tissue growth and collagen synthesis (6)
  • Vitamins A, C and zinc - aid cellular repair and fight infection
  • Hydration is vital - dehydration slows healing
  • Consider supplements like Condition Direct Healing Support with zinc, vitamin C and antioxidants

Other Contributing Factors 

Additional considerations for comprehensive ulcer management:

  • Control blood glucose levels for diabetic ulcers
  • Improve circulation and oxygenation
  • Debride devitalized tissue - stimulate growth of healthy tissue
  • Prevent and treat infections
  • Manage pain and stress that disrupt healing
  • Apply advanced dressings and treatments

A holistic approach addresses all aspects that impact healing - moisture balance, pressure relief, nutrition, and other individual factors based on ulcer type and health status. This facilitates optimal ulcer closure and recovery.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only, not medical advice. Discuss prevention and treatment with your health provider.


  1. Leaper, D. J., & Durani, P. (2008). Topical antimicrobial therapy of chronic wounds healing by secondary intention using iodine products. International Wound Journal, 5(2), 361-368.
  2. Padula, W. V., Delarmente, B. A., Messer, M. A., Murphy, J. D., Eisenhauer, C. M., & Mishra, M. K. (2019). Preventing pressure injuries among hospitalized patients: The pressure ulcer prevention study. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 34(3), 205-212.
  3. Hess, C.T. (2011). Types of Chronic Wounds. In Chronic Wounds: Advanced Management Concepts, 24-56.
  4. OʼMeara, S., Cullum, N., Nelson, E. A., & Dumville, J. C. (2012). Compression for venous leg ulcers. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 11(11), CD000265.
  5. Singh, N., Armstrong, D. G., & Lipsky, B. A. (2005). Preventing foot ulcers in patients with diabetes. JAMA, 293(2), 217–228.
  6. Demidova-Rice, T. N., Hamblin, M. R., & Herman, I. M. (2012). Acute and impaired wound healing: pathophysiology and current methods for drug delivery, part 1: normal and chronic wounds: biology, causes, and approaches to care. Advances in skin & wound care, 25(7), 304–314.

Stay tuned for more insightful content on the role of nutrition in health and healing from Condition Directed Supplements.

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