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Chronic Wounds

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is a chronic wound?

A chronic wound is a wound that does not heal completely in 6 weeks. A wound is an injury that causes a break in the skin. There may also be damage to nearby tissues. Examples of wounds that can become chronic are deep ulcers (open sores), large burns, and infected cuts.

What leads to a chronic wound?

Conditions that slow or stop the healing process may lead to a chronic wound. These may include any of the following:

What signs and symptoms may happen with a chronic wound?

How is a chronic wound diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your wound. Your provider will ask about your health, the medicines you take, and any past surgeries. Your provider will examine the wound and the area around it. Your provider will check to see how deep the wound is and look for signs of infection. You may also need any of the following:

How is a chronic wound treated?

Your treatment depends on where your wound is located and how severe it is. If a medical condition such as diabetes is delaying wound healing, it is important to treat the condition. Healthcare providers may change your treatment over time if your wound still does not heal. Your treatment may also change as your wound heals. You may need any of the following:

What do I need to know about wound care?

What can I do to help my wound heal?

How can I prevent wounds caused by pressure?

Pressure wounds can develop when blood flow to an area is blocked. For example, you sit or lie in the same position without moving and put pressure on your heels. You can prevent pressure wounds by doing any of the following:

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.