The Difference Between Acute and Chronic Wounds

The general term wound refers to any kind of damage or break in the skin’s surface caused by a cut, a blow, or another type of impact, usually, one in which the skin is broken. Wounds may be separated into two categories: acute and chronic.

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Acute Wounds

Acute wounds are skin injuries that typically heal quickly and are expected to move through the normal stages of the healing process at the expected rate, ultimately resulting in complete closure of the wound. Acute wounds may include minor cuts with smooth-edged objects such as knives or paper, tears in the skin with irregular and jagged edges, animal bites, scratches, and wounds resulting from surgery. An acute wound occurs rapidly rather than over a period of time. Acute wounds can happen anywhere on the body and range from superficial scratches to deep injuries that damage the blood vessels, nerves, and muscle tissue.

Chronic Wounds

In contrast, chronic or non-healing wounds can be defined as wounds that are slow to heal, fail to progress through the usual phases of healing in an orderly way, and show no major progress toward healing within 30 days to three months. They include diabetic foot ulcers, venous ulcers, pressure ulcers, and arterial ulcers. Chronic wounds are frequently stuck in the inflammation phase of the healing process. Patients with chronic wounds may experience continuous pain, loss of normal functioning and mobility, and greater than usual stress, along with isolation, anxiety, depression, and extended hospital stay. Factors that may contribute to making a wound chronic include pressure, trauma, and injuries to the lower extremities.

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