Can you determine if your wound is acute or chronic? Wound Source explained the primary distinguishing factor between the two: Acute wounds progress through normal stages of healing while chronic wounds fail to do so. The latter can result in infections, pain and other complications, so the hope is that your wound will stay clear of the chronic stage.

Here’s what you should know about acute vs chronic wounds:

What is an acute wound?

As long as it follows an expected rate of healing, any wound, regardless of severity, can be considered an acute injury. This includes abrasions, lacerations, incisions, burns and puncture wounds.

Causes

Acute wounds are caused by contact with rough, hard or sharp surfaces that damages the skin or underlying tissue. Abrasions, for instance, are often the result of scraping against a rough surface, while lacerations occur when sharp objects tear the skin in an irregular or jagged way.

Signs

Symptoms of acute wounds vary, but common ones include pain, swelling, redness and bleeding at the wound site, as explained by Wound Care Centers.

Treatment

The first step to treating a chronic wound is to stop the bleeding. From there, clean and dress the wound according the doctor’s instructions. Some acute wounds require antibiotics to help relieve the pain.

“Acute wounds progress through normal stages of healing while chronic wounds fail to do so.”

What is a chronic wound?

Any acute wound can progress into a chronic one. If there’s no significant evidence of healing within about four weeks, the wound has likely entered the chronic stage and requires additional medical attention.

Causes

According to Wound Source,   include:

  • Pressure on the affected area.
  • Increased exposure to bacteria or trauma.
  • Lack of blood supply, oxygen, nutrients or hygiene.
  • Infection.

Incorrect treatment, poorly performed procedures or failure to seek professional medical assistance can also stall the healing process.

Signs

Along with slow healing, other signs of a chronic wound include increases in inflammation, exudate, swelling, pain and stiffness in the affected area.

Treatment

While treatments vary depending on the type of wound, Wound Source noted that addressing the causes is often the first step to getting the injury back on the right path to healing. For example, diagnosing and treating an infection may be the first call of action when excess bacteria causes healing to slow.

Any wound you incur will require a treatment plan for proper healing, which will likely involve daily dressing changes. Talk to your doctor about smartPAC by Advanced Tissue for smart delivery of the wound care products your treatment requires.