Chronic non-healing wounds have a significant impact on the health of many Americans. It is currently estimated that 6.5 million Americans are affected by wounds such as these, and that number is expected to continue to rise. Chronic wounds can have a variety of causes. Each cause contributes to impaired wound healing by increasing systemic and/or local inflammation. Inflammation can be a result of pressure, poor blood flow, diabetes, infection, malignancy, autoimmune disease and many others.
Care of chronic wounds requires identification and treatment of the underlying cause. Similarly, wound healing can be enhanced by addressing chronic inflammation. Two critical and often underestimated or overlooked players in chronic inflammatory states are nutrition and exercise. The historically touted advice has been for patients with chronic non-healing wounds to increase their dietary protein intake. Protein is considered the “building blocks” of the human body and is required to grow new tissue. A low protein level is expected to result in slower rate of tissue growth and therefore, delayed wound healing.