Chronic ulcers (wounds) are commonly encountered in medical practice, particularly in elderly patients who have chronic medical conditions. Health care providers must be adept at diagnosing chronic ulcers and optimizing medical treatment. We describe the best medical practice for the 4 common types of chronic ulcers: pressure ulcers, ischemic ulcers, venous ulcers, and neuropathic ulcers. We emphasize the importance of nutrition and proper wound care as a foundation for the management of all chronic ulcers. There is a unique therapeutic goal for each chronic ulcer. Pressure relief should be provided for both pressure ulcers and neuropathic ulcers. Ischemic ulcers require revascularization. Patients with venous ulcers need adequate edema control. We outline advances in each of these areas and discuss the newest developments in wound care, including growth factors, hyperbaric oxygen, and vacuum-assisted devices. Chronic ulcers in elderly patients can heal with proper diagnosis and good medical care.
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