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A wound that won't heal can be a constant source of pain and frustration. It also can be a serious medical problem for patients who do not get the treatment and support they need. 


A chronic wound is a wound that does not heal in an orderly set of stages and in a predictable amount of time or wounds that do not heal within three months are often considered chronic. Chronic wounds often remain in the inflammatory stage for too long and may never heal or may take years.

Chronic wound patients often report pain as dominant in their lives. Persistent pain is the main problem for patients with chronic ulcers.

Many wounds pose no challenge to the body’s innate ability to heal; some wounds, however, may not heal easily either because of the severity of the wounds themselves or because of the poor state of health of the individual. Any wound that does not heal within a few weeks should be examined by a healthcare professional because it might be infected, might reflect an underlying disease.

Wound is a sore on the skin or a mucous membrane, accompanied by the disintegration of tissue. Wound can result in complete loss of the epidermis and often portions of the dermis and even subcutaneous fat. A wound that appears on the skin is often visible as an inflamed tissue with an area of reddened skin. Wound can also be caused due to a lack of mobility, which causes prolonged pressure on the tissues

Who is at risk for a non- healing wound?

It is very important to see your provider if you have a hard-to-heal wound. Many people are at risk for non-healing wounds. They include people with:

  • Diabetes, anemia, cancer and other long-term medical conditions.

  • Heart issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease or varicose veins.

  • Immobility, such as being confined to a wheelchair or bed.

  • Unhealthy habits such as smoking, not eating a healthy diet or not being active.

  • A weak immune system from chemotherapy, immunosuppressive medications, or medical conditions such as AIDS.

  • A history of ulcers.


Call your provider if you have a wound or ulcer and see any of the following symptoms:

  • TimeHow long have you had your wound? Most of the time, wounds start healing on their own within 1-2 weeks and heal significantly by six weeks. 
    If your wound looks the same or worse after a couple of weeks, that’s a sign that it isn’t healing like it should be. If it still isn’t healing in six weeks, you may have a slow- or non-healing wound. 

  • Pain: How does the area feel? It’s normal to feel some pain, swelling, and heat around a wound as it starts to heal. But if the pain doesn’t go away, it might indicate a non-healing wound.
    Non-healing wounds can cause worsening pain over time. You may notice increasing swelling, redness, and even develop a fever if infection occurs.

  • Odor: Do you notice any unusual odors? A healing wound shouldn’t have a noticeable odor, but a foul odor could be a sign of a non-healing wound. Dead and dying tissue, along with discharge from infection may give off distinct, bad-smelling odors.

  • Appearance: What does the wound look like? Properly healing wounds form scabs, and you might even see new tissue growth as the scab disappears.
    If you have a slow-healing wound, you won’t see these signs of healing. Instead, you might notice drainage or pus, swelling, redness, and darkening skin around the edges of the wound.

  • Size: Is your wound changing in size? Wounds that are healing properly will get smaller over time. Slow- or non-healing wounds may stay the same size or get larger.


Wound treatments are based on the type and severity of the wound or ulcer. If you have a non-healing wound, your provider will discuss your options with you and help you decide the right treatment. Basic wound care treatment may include:

  • Topical wound medication and specialized dressings

  • Compression wrapping

  • Compression stockings

  • Patient education on self-care

  • Antibiotics

  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

  • Debridement, or removing unhealthy tissue

  • Ultrasound (heals using sound waves)

  • Negative pressure therapy (air is pulled from a closed dressing, which improves blood flow and draws out excess fluids from the wound)

  • Growth-factor therapy (help wound-healing cells to grow)

  • Surgery

Consult a doctor for medical advice or visit us at PEOPLE CARE INSTITUTE for more information


Note: The information you see here is general and describes what usually happens with a medical condition, but doesn't apply to everyone. This information IS NOT  a substitute for professional medical advice, so please make sure to contact a healthcare provider if you have a medical problem. 

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