Wound is an injury to any part of our body. It can be just on the skin or damage to the skin, underlying tissues and even to the bones. In some cases, the wound may not be seen from the surface of the skin but the underlying muscle or tissue might have got hurt or damaged.
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Wounds are classified into three types:
- 1. Open Wounds
- 2. Closed Wounds
- 3. Ulcers
Open wounds are those injuries where the skin is cut open through various means. The muscles and tissues below that may or may not be injured. Depending on how the injury has hurt the body, open wounds are again divided into two categories:
Penetrating Wounds – Where the skin is injured and the injury is little deeper into the tissue or muscle in the affected area. Penetrating wounds include:
- 1. Puncture wounds (Such as those happened with a sharp object piercing)
- 2. Surgical Wounds and Incisions
- 3. Burns due to heat, spillage of chemicals or even due to heavy electrical circuits
- 4. Animal bites, stings etc
- 5. Injuries due to piercing objects such as bullets, arrows or high velocity objects.
Blunt Force Trauma Wounds – Such wounds are caused when you slide hard over a surface or when sharp objects cut through any part of the body.
- Abrasions – This is smallest type of blunt force trauma that happens when you slide roughly on any hard surface. It shows up as just scratches on the skin.
- Lacerations – A big cut on the skin with deeper muscle injury
- Skin Tears
Closed wounds are those that are not visible from the outside most of the time but the internal tissue/muscles are damaged and may have internal bleeding.
Types of closed wounds include:
- Contusions – It’s a medical term for bruise. Typically in such cases, the skin turns reddish brown, blue or black after sometime.
- Seroma – Accumulation of fluids under the skin or tissues
- Hematoma – Accumulation of blood under the skin or tissues. This typically happens when there is an internal bleeding due to damage of vein(s) or arteries.
- Crush injuries – typically seen on fingers, hands or legs.
Ulcers are sores that can occur on the external or internal surface of the body. They can range from small painful sores to serious ulcers in the stomach or intestines.
Ulcers are classified into 4 types:
- 1. Pressure Ulcers
- 2. Venous Ulcers
- 3. Arterial Ulcers
- 4. Neuropathic Ulcers.
Pressure Ulcers, also called ‘Pressure Sores or Bed Sores’ are injuries caused to the skin and also to the underlying tissue due to pressure. In most cases, it is due to the own weight of the body when lying in bed for a long time in the same position. Typically this may be seen in people who are bedridden after an accident or those who are in vegetative state or coma.
Venous Ulcers and Arterial Ulcers form due to the problem with circulation of blood through them. As you may be aware, arteries supplies good blood from heart to all parts of the body; veins transport impure blood from all parts of the body to the heart. Any damage to veins or arteries in any part of the body can disrupt the supply of blood and result in formation of ulcers in the area. Typically such ulcers are seen in legs or feet and can result in infections such as cellulitis.
Neuropathic Ulcers are painless wounds that occur on the body but not usually noticed because of damage to the nerves in the region. The loss of sensation in the affected area due to the damage of nerves (that conduct messages to and from spinal cord and brain) is called peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy and neuropathic ulcers can be seen in diabetics.
Symptoms of Wounds
Common symptoms of wounds include pain, swelling, and bleeding. Depending on the location and type of the wound, the severity of symptoms may vary. Some may just swell and bleed a little whereas severe cuts and deep injuries may bleed profusely and need immediate medical attention.
Wounds that don’t close or heal must be treated by a doctor to avoid infection that can sometimes lead to amputation of a body part to save the rest of the body. Infected wounds often swell, become tender to touch, and ooze pus out of them along with little blood.
Wounds that need treatment by a doctor:
- If the injury is caused by force or a bad accident
- If the wound continues to bleed even after trying to stop with pressure or elevation – such wounds may require stitches
- Insect (not all but some stings) and animal bites.
- Wounds that drain a lot of pus and are difficult to clean
Why do some wounds take a long time to heal?
There are several reasons why some wounds, even very small/minor take a long time to heal in some people. That can be due to improper care, exposing the wound to air, having a weak immune system, etc. Apart from these, there are other conditions that can delay the healing of wounds:
- Medical conditions such as anemia, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, or kidney diseases.
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Varicose veins
- Unhealthy habits that hurt the immune system include smoking, bad diet, drug abuse, etc.
- A weakened immune system due to previous medical interventions such as chemotherapy, administering immunosuppressive medications, or a chronic disease like AIDS.
- Infected wounds, ulcers, and usage of certain medications.
Treatment of wounds and caring through recovery
It is important to see a good doctor to treat a wound or injury if it is not healing in a few days. Typically all small/minor injuries or wounds heal themselves in less than a week. If it is taking longer than a week and if you see that the skin is changing color on the surface and associated with pain, itching or swelling, or even bleeding, or if pus is leaking out, you must see a doctor immediately.
What types of wounds are treated at our clinic in Chennai?
From minor, nonhealing scratches to traumatic severe cuts, burns, and injuries, our specialists are highly experienced in treating all types of wounds. We also treat surgical wounds if they haven’t healed in time and are showing signs of infection. Pressure ulcers at any stage can be treated with proper diagnosis and medication. Our multispecialty clinic also offers Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to treat even the toughest wounds that don’t respond to normal medicines and treatment procedures and can also avoid amputation of body parts when treated on time.