Why Is My Wound Not Healing?
Wounds can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to heal, depending on the type of wound, the area of the body it’s in, and other factors. Unhealing wounds are serious and need medical attention. If you have a wound that just will not heal, there could be several reasons for this. If you have an unhealing wound you should get help from a doctor or other healthcare provider as soon as possible. Untended wounds can lead to infection, which is especially dangerous in certain areas of your body like your armpit or groin. Wounds that won’t heal can also be signs of an underlying illness that needs treatment sooner than later. Read on to learn more about why wounds don’t heal and how you can treat them so they do heal faster next time around.
Loss of Skin/Tissue
If a wound is healing and the skin around it is healing, it should look red and inflamed at first. After a few days, the skin will turn from red to a yellowish brown color as it starts to die and peel off. A wound that is not healing will likely have less red/yellow/brown skin around it and more red/pink tissue. This could mean the wound is infected or has lost tissue due to poor blood supply.If a wound is healing and the skin around it starts to die and peel off but then stops, this could be an issue of inadequate blood supply. When a wound is fresh and new, the blood surrounding it has a lot of oxygen in it and is flowing well. But after a few days, the blood starts to lose some of its oxygen and becomes “old blood” that is no longer flowing as well. If this “bad blood” is getting to your wound, it may not be able to bring all the nutrients and healing properties it needs. If this happens, the wound may look red/pink and not heal, or it may turn dark red/purple and look swollen as the bad blood backs up and causes increased pressure in the area.
Inadequate Blood Supply
This can result from a few different things, including this same loss of oxygen, partial or complete tissue death, or advanced clotting of blood in the wound. If a wound is healing, it may stick to nearby skin, adhering the two together. This is normal. But if it is not able to break away and a large amount of dead tissue builds up around the wound, this can cause an inadequate blood supply and prevent healing.A wound with inadequate blood supply may turn black and die as it is not being “fed” enough blood. This is called gangrene and is a serious infection that requires immediate medical attention as it can quickly spread to other parts of your body and become life-threatening.
If a wound is healing, the dead and dying skin will break away after a few days. If a wound is not healing, the dead skin around it might not break away and instead start to grow together and form “adhesions”—or areas of scar tissue. If these adhesions are not treated, they can become fibrotic and make healing more difficult or even impossible. Adhesions are also more likely to form in certain areas of your body, like your armpit, groin, or abdomen.If a wound is healing, it is normal for the edges to look raw and red. If the edges of a wound are healing, but the middle of the wound is not, this could be an adhesion forming.
A wound that is healing but is red, swollen, and not draining pus may have a bacterial infection. A wound is more likely to become infected if it is dirty, open to the air/environment, or has recently been treated with antibiotics. Bacterial infections can become serious, turn into an abscess, and even require surgery if left untreated.If a wound is healing and has pus in it, this is a good sign, as it means the infection is clearing. But if a wound is not draining pus, it likely has an infection.
Immune System Problems
If a wound is healing and then starts to get red and swollen, is oozing a lot of puss, or gets warm to the touch, it could be an indication of an immune system problem. Some common underlying conditions that can cause wounds to stay infected or not heal include diabetes, arterial disease, and HIV.If a wound is healing and then starts to look red and swollen and is not draining a lot of puss, there may be a deeper problem like an autoimmune disorder or a blood clotting issue. If you have an underlying illness, your wound may not heal until you get treatment for the illness.
Chronic Wound Issues
Some wounds will not heal for a variety of reasons. Chronic wound issues refer to wounds that have been unhealed for at least 3 months. Chronic wound issues may require more aggressive treatment, including surgery or special dressings, to get better. Chronic wound issues are often painfu,l if left untreated.If a wound is healing but has been a problem for a long time and doesn’t seem to go away, you should see a doctor to see what other treatment may be necessary.
Treatment Steps for an Unhealing Wound
Wash the wound and apply a clean dressing. Ask your doctor what type of dressing you should use on the wound. It should be clean and allow air to reach the wound.Clean the wound. Clean the wound with soap and water or a special cleaning solution. Only clean the wound as often as your healthcare provider says is necessary.Keep the wound covered. Cover the wound with a clean bandage or dressing. Be sure to change the dressing often.Give the wound time to heal. Wounds take a long time to heal, especially deep wounds. Healing time varies a lot based on the type of wound and the area of the body it is in.
Wounds can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to heal, but unhealing wounds are serious and need medical attention. Loss of skin/tissue, inadequate blood flow, and bacterial infection are common issues that can cause wounds to not heal.If you have an unhealing wound, it is important to talk to a health care provider. They will be able to tell you whether or not the wound is healing and what you can do to help it along.