Any wound that has not healed within four weeks is considered a chronic or non-healing wound. Over six million people in the United States will visit a doctor for a wound that has not healed within this normal, expected healing time.
The most common types of non-healing wounds include:
- Surgical wounds, traumatic wounds, cuts, lacerations or burns
- Venous ulcers of the legs and ankles
- Arterial ulcers of the legs and feet
- Pressure sores or bed sores
- Diabetic ulcers
Approximately 40 billion dollars is spent each year on wound care products, but treating one involves more than simply dressing the wound or topical application. In fact, wound care has more to do with what is underlying the wound than the wound surface itself.
Why Some Wounds Wont Heal
- Poor circulation: Wounds heal most efficiently when there is easy access to and from the wound site through the body’s circulatory system. When this process is impeded, proper healing cannot take place.
- Edema: Fluid build-up prevents proper blood flow, impeding the body’s natural healing process.
- Poor nutrition: Protein malnutrition is one of the most overlooked reasons as to why wounds will not heal. Often, a substantial increase in ingested protein is needed to heal wounds. In fact, the amount of protein alone needed can be up to three times the recommended daily requirement.
- Repetitive trauma to wound: This occurs when a wound undergoes repetitive pressure due to bumping, bending, flexing or rubbing against a surface.
- Infection: If a wound is infected, the bacteria, virus or fungus in or under a wound site will inhibit the natural and timely healing process.