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What are the Most Common Causes of Delayed Wound Healing?

By Felicia Dye
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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If an injury is not properly cared for, one negative result may be delayed wound healing. If infection results, the healing process will also be retarded. Another cause of a reduced rate of recovery is the consumption of medications that interfere with the healing process.

Improper care of the wound may be the cause of the problem. This often happens when injuries are dressed and a person carelessly or aggressively removes the dressing. This commonly leads to a reopening of the wound. If a person does not exercise caution when she cleans her injury, she may also retard healing by causing further trauma. Also, it has been found that for many wounds, optimal healing occurs when the injured area is kept moist; wounds that are left uncovered tend to dehydrate making recovery slower.

The picking of scabs is a common cause of slower than normal wound healing. A scab basically acts as a protective cover for a wound. From the outside it may seem like a hard, unsightly reminder of an injury. It is actually protecting the injured area from further problems and allowing it to heal undisturbed. When this protective covering is removed, however, the wound may be reopened and become susceptible to infection.

Delayed wound healing is very likely when infections occur. Wounds commonly get infected when bacteria invade the injured site, because these microorganisms can interrupt the healing process and aggravate the problem. There are increased chances of this happening if a foreign object, such as a rusty hook, penetrated the injury when it was caused or if a foreign object, such as a shard of glass, remains in the wound.

Certain medications such as corticosteroids, anti-coagulants, and anti-platelet drugs can cause the problem. These medications tend to interrupt the body's normal healing process in various ways. Some, for example, reduce blood flow, which is essential to timely recovery.

A poor diet can be a major factor in delayed wound healing. A person gets the nutrients she needs to heal from her food just as she gets the nutrients she needs to live. Protein, for example, is needed for cell regeneration. Zinc is needed for the proper production of protein. If a person is not eating properly during the healing process, it is likely she will lack the components necessary for timely recovery.

Age also tends to play a role in delayed wound healing. Older people recover from physical trauma at a much slower rate than younger people. Age also hinders the body's ability to resist injury, meaning that other delayed wound healing factors, such as carelessly removing an injury's dressing, are more likely to cause new trauma for an older person.

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Discussion Comments

By Heavanet — On Feb 05, 2014

The article also makes a valid point about diet during wound healing. A balanced diet with plenty of protein will help you heal. It is also important to avoid too much sugar and alcohol while you are on the mend.

By Talentryto — On Feb 04, 2014

The most important key to wound healing without delays is to keep the wound dry and clean. Use any prescribed medications as directed, and keep any dressings clean and dry. If you still have trouble with delayed healing, a visit to a wound center for other options may be necessary.

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