Several factors can cause a wound, compromise its healing, or even cause an acute wound to become a chronic wound, with all the risks of complications that brings, including the risk of recurrence.
Some of the risk factors that can cause a wound or slow the wound healing process include:
Disease-related risk factors
Vascular disease: Restricts blood flow to the area delaying healing
Diabetes: Causes a high blood sugar level, damages the arteries and nerves, especially in the feet
Lifestyle-related risk factors
- Smoking: Can damage the arteries, reducing oxygen supply to the wound and impairing healing
Mechanical damage: Wearing ill-fitting shoes may cause pressure and friction resulting in a wound or delaying healing of an existing wound
Mobility: Low mobility increases risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, a person who is immobile is at risk of bedsores
Diet: Poor food choices may mean the wound is not getting the nutrients it needs to repair and heal
Hygiene: Not observing basic hygiene like washing daily and ensuring skin is kept dry (especially between toes) and toenails cut short
Other risk factors
- Age: Wounds tend to take longer to heal in as we age.Older people’s skin is less hydrated and has less elasticity which can slow the healing process.
These factors can extend the healing time of a chronic wound and increase the risk of a chronic wound recurring. It is not uncommon to feel depressed or anxious about the time it is taking for a chronic wound to heal and it’s important to discuss this with your healthcare professional.