Last July, Jeffrey Arnts of Clinton was enjoying a day at Sylvan Beach with his grandson Aidan. Little did he know then that a few careless steps on that hot summer day would mean missing many weeks of work and require months of treatment at Rome Memorial Hospital’s Regional Center for Wound Care.After spending time at the beach, Jeff and Aiden decided to move on to the amusement park, but first they had to put their beach gear in the car. Aidan took one step onto the blacktop of the parking lot and yelled “hot.” He quickly stopped and put on his flip-flops. But the parking lot did not feel that hot to Jeff who thought his grandson must have delicate feet.Actually it was Jeff’s feet that had the problem. Diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2000, Jeff has developed diabetic neuropathy in his feet, a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. High blood sugar can injure nerve fibers throughout your body, but diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet.Jeff walked across the pavement and stood and loaded the car before he put shoes on. He felt no pain at all and in fact didn’t know there was any problem with his feet until later that night when he felt something wet and looked down to see his foot bleeding. Looking at the bottom of his foot, he realized the walk across the hot parking lot had burnt the bottom of his feet and now he had seeping wounds.“I went to urgent care and they told me I had second degree burns on my foot,” Jeff said. “The wounds were so bad; they referred me to the Regional Center for Wound Care.”At the Regional Center for Wound Care, a program of care was prescribed for Jeff by Medical Director Nicholas Peters M.D. and treatment was provided by Registered Nurse Amy Pickett. Jeff began his treatment the first week of August.“Patients like Jeff have problems with their feet for many reasons, but in his case due to his neuropathy he lacked the protective sensation as a result of diabetes to feel the ground was burning him,” Amy explained. “This is also true as far as pressure. If we buy a new pair of shoes that hurt our feet, we stop before we get blisters. Diabetics often do not feel the pain in time to stop the formation of sores.” Jeff’s treatment began with Amy cleaning and photographing his wounds. “Jeff’s plan of care included primary wound products that promote tissue formation as well as a Total Contact Cast,” Amy explained. “The Total Contact Cast is designed to distribute pressure evenly on the plantar surface of the foot. Uneven pressure would otherwise prevent healing to vulnerable areas.” The cast was applied and 48 hours later Jeff returned to the wound center to have the cast changed to ensure he was tolerating it well. After the initial two cast changes Jeff returned to the wound center weekly to have the cast changed until his wounds healed. “During each cast change, Jeff received wound care with a debridement to promote healing,” Amy said. Debriding is a process of removing damaged tissue from the wound. Amy explained the treatment for diabetic wounds is not specific over any other type of wound. “To treat all wounds you must maintain a balance of pressure relief and moisture, as well as prevent and/or treat infection and correct any underlying medical conditions that could delay healing, which can include elevated glucose levels and circulation problems,” Amy said. “Being diabetic can complicate this process and delay healing. Jeff’s diabetes did slow his healing; however, he was eager to heal and followed his instructions which lead to a positive outcome for him.”Jeff did as the doctor ordered and stayed off his feet as much as possible and kept his feet elevated. After 38 days, his wounds healed and Jeff was able to return to work. Unfortunately, after only three weeks back, one of the wounds reopened. Jeff tried treating the injury himself instead of returning to the wound center right away as recommended. Jeff’s second wound treatment took longer to heal than the first and he was again out of work from mid October until mid December.“Once a patient has a diabetic ulcer that has healed they are vulnerable to reopening in that area. If that occurs, healing is further complicated by scar tissue,” Amy said. “Had Jeff responded promptly to any changes in his foot after healing from his previous injuries he may have healed faster once the wound reopened.” “I know now that if I get any type of wound I will be right back to the Regional Center for Wound Care,” Jeff said. “Everyone there is so helpful and friendly; they really make you feel at ease. But most important, the treatment works. I can’t thank them enough.”The Regional Center for Wound Care provides many types of advanced wound care services for problem wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers, also pressure ulcers and non-healing surgical wounds. Treatment options available include debridement, topical wound therapy, tissue therapy and negative pressure wound therapy. In addition, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is also available. About 20 percent of wound care patients are candidates for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which works by increasing the amount of oxygen the blood can carry to promote healing and fight infection. The center has two hyperbaric chambers.The Regional Center for Wound Care is located at 267 Hill Road, which can be accessed by turning on Avery Lane between AmeriCU and the Griffiss traffic circle. For more information, please call (315) 338-7540.