As we mature, it may seem that slower healing is inevitable; something we just “have to put up with.” However, that isn’t the case. Knowing about the most common slow healing wounds causes, and understanding why wounds are slow to heal, is key to boosting our healing potential.
Although we don’t like to draw too much attention to it, our body's immune system takes no days off. Big accidents call the attention of our body’s defenses immediately, but seemingly innocuous bumps and cuts also need attention.
Infections can take hold from unlikely sources. Internal wounds caused as a result of other diseases are managed by the body and require careful attention.
The work our bodies do is amazing, but it comes with a price. Our bodies require a lot of resources to do their jobs effectively, usually coming from our diet. And it’s important to remember that healing draws resources away from our energy levels.
As such, it’s no wonder that a good fundamental understanding of slow healing wounds causes is essential.
We will share our top slow healing wounds causes shortly, but before we dive into them, it’s important to notice the signs of a wound that needs your attention (and the attention of your doctor).
Signs to look out for in wound healing
The same four stages of a healing wound apply to all types of skin injuries, but how long they take to complete them will depend greatly on your health as an individual. All wounds will show some signs of bleeding, swelling, and discomfort – and these symptoms just show that your body is damaged *but work is underway to restore it again).
Your wound should go through coagulation very quickly to stop the bleeding. Then, you will go through an inflammatory stage that can last a few days while your body brings important nutrients to the site and gets rid of any debris or infection.
Then, your body will go to work repairing the impact site by restoring the collagen protein structure of any organs, blood vessels, or skin that was damaged until all that is left is a scar.
But not all wounds have a smooth healing journey. There are many slow healing wounds causes that could prevent you from achieving a fully healed wound in the usual 3-4 week time frame. If you have a wound that will not heal after a month is up, this is known as a chronic wound.
Signs of a chronic wound
Chronic wounds are wounds that are slow to heal. Some signs of a chronic wound include:
- Wounds that never leave the inflammatory stage, or become inflamed again
- Yellowish discharge from the wound
- Numbness around the wound area
- Changes in color
- A foul odor
- Excessive swelling
- Noticeable lack of healing signs, such as scabs or new tissue regeneration
These are the signs that some slow healing wounds causes could be a play, since your wound is not healing properly.
These symptoms should be brought to the attention of a medical professional. They may require changes to medication, lifestyle, diet, or supplementation to overcome.
So now that you have an idea of what a wound should and shouldn’t be doing…what are slow healing wounds causes in the first place? And if any of the slow healing wounds causes apply to you, what are you supposed to do about it?
Let’s take a look at the most common causes of slow wound healing, and how you can get your healing back on track.
The top 8 slow healing wounds causes
What are the most common causes of slow healing wounds? If you’re wondering why you have wounds that are slow to heal, make sure you review our list of these top 8 slow healing wounds causes.
It’s important to note that these slow healing wounds causes are not ranked by likelihood or severity. Wounds are individual challenges each time they occur, and wounds that are slow to heal can be caused by any one of, or a combination of, the following:
It’s no secret that having wounds that are slow to heal is an issue facing the elderly more than children.
Our bodies tend to decline or slow down as we age, and reduced collagen production plays a big role in that. Collagen is the protein that adds tensile structure to body cells from our skin to our joints, organs, and blood vessels.
At what age does healing slow down? The answer depends on external factors, but can be as early as your 20s, since our collagen production begins to slow down more each year once we reach our mid-20s.
As a result, your body has a reduced stockpile of collagen on hand for countering wounds when they appear. If your body doesn’t have access to the collagen it needs during the recovery phase, then it can absolutely become one of the slow healing wounds causes.
2. Poor nutrition
While healing from a wound, we may be temporarily restricted in our movements and spend more time resting. Be careful if you are in this situation however, because the word “resting” here is a bit of a misnomer. Even though you may be in bed, your body is hard at work healing.
Patients in recovery require a surplus of calories in their diet compared to normal.
To prevent poor nutrition being a cause of slow healing wounds, it’s more important than normal that the body gets enough energy from calories. This means getting extra protein as a wound-healing resource, and full access to vitamins for vital bodily functions.
Water is a foundation for bodily health. Without adequate levels of hydration, we all find it difficult to think clearly or make good decisions. Considering hydration on a cellular level, water is used for the effective transportation of nutrients around the body, as well as many other bodily processes.
Additionally, a more hydrated mind is a less-stressed mind. Good hydration allows you to make good practical decisions.
The recovery phase is a fragile state that can be mentally challenging, particularly if you are used to a certain routine. Before making a potentially rash decision, take a drink of water first.
So why is dehydration on our list of top slow healing wounds causes? Because clear decision-making reduces the chance of small errors of judgment, such as putting stress on a wound before it’s ready (see point 7), which can set back recovery time significantly.
It can also make it harder for your body to transport healing nutrients to the wound site, which can prolong your healing time.
4. Skin moisture levels
Skin moisture comes hand-in-hand with hydration, and is a consideration for healthy wound management. Skin should neither be wet nor too dry, both of which are causes of slow healing wounds.
Wounds that are wet have a higher chance of spreading bacteria from other parts of your body to the wound site.
Wounds that are too dry also present problems and are one of the causes of slow healing wounds. The body needs to rebuild blood vessels at wound sites, and a careful balance of moisture allows this process to take place more effectively.
Medical professionals are trained to cover wounds so that the affected area maintains a small amount of moisture, but not enough to risk interference from external bacteria.
While all the items on this list are important considerations, infection is probably the most serious of the slow healing wounds causes on our list.
It’s a simple fact: An infected wound will not heal.
To understand why, let’s review an example. Let’s say you accidentally cut yourself with a pair of scissors. The presence of the wound actually presents two clear issues.
Firstly, the collagen protein network of your skin and blood vessels has been broken and needs repair.
Secondly, your body is now at risk of infection through bacteria that can enter the wound site; either through airborne bacteria around you, or bacteria already present on the scissors (how clean were they before you cut ourselves with them?).
Your body can’t take any chances when it comes to infection, which is why the wound enters the inflammatory phase. While in the inflammatory phase of healing, the body creates swelling at the site of the wound. You can think of this swelling as providing more space for the immune system to do its work.
The wound area is in a sort of isolation because the blood vessels that connected it to the rest of your body have been damaged by the wound. Ongoing checks by white blood cells survey for a completely decontaminated wound site before your body can begin to lay down collagen protein to fill in the wound.
If for whatever reason the immune system cannot decontaminate the wound site satisfactorily, it won’t give the all-clear for your body to continue with healing.
Now it’s clear to see how the presence of an infection is a leader in slow healing wounds causes. An infected wound will not advance from the inflammatory phase. It will remain swollen, presenting symptoms such as discharge and foul odors.
That’s why it’s so important that you speak with a medical professional for advice about clearing your infection so the body can resume the process of wound healing.
6. Pre-existing conditions
Just as an infection will inhibit collagen protein restructuring, pre-existing conditions such as heart disease or diabetes are causes of slow healing wounds compared to patients without these pre-existing conditions.
Any disease that results in poor circulation can prolong recovery time. This is because resources such as collagen protein use the circulatory system to be transported around the body.
Diabetes wound healing is also an issue. Diabetes reduces the body’s ability to recover from wounds because blood sugar plays a vital role in many bodily functions. High blood sugar will slow down wound recovery.
With this in mind, it’s important to speak to your doctor about how an existing condition you have may affect your wound recovery. You may need to undergo special treatments in order to recover effectively.
7. Pressuring the wound
Next in our list of slow healing wounds causes is pressure. Applying undesired pressure to your wound, for example by lying on it for sustained periods, may impede wound healing.
Your wound may leave you temporarily restricted when it comes to movement, and you may be spending long periods in a hospital bed or in bed at home while you recover.
While your body is in the inflammatory phase, your wound site is fragile and shouldn’t come into contact with pressure or hard surfaces.
This can present a problem if a wound is on your back for example. If you’re in this situation, you should seek advice on how to change your sleeping position so that you don’t squeeze the wound between your body and the mattress.
Likewise, consider how a wound to your inner leg should not rub against the other leg while walking, sitting, or sleeping.
Wounds should be treated with care. If the inflammation is compromised, or your scab is perforated, the wound healing process may have to begin anew.
It is for this reason that unwanted pressure has made our list of the top 8 slow healing wounds causes.
8. Going it alone
Wounds are inherently scary, particularly as we get older and take longer to recover. Following a good diet and conducting effective wound management isn’t a task you should have to take on by yourself.
Although we hope our list of these top 8 slow healing wounds causes is clear, useful information, it should not replace the recommendations of your own doctor.
Good health advice from a medical professional will be tailored to your individual circumstance and will be more detailed than we can possibly be in our list. Instead, use our guide as inspiration for talking points with your doctor when you next visit them.
Importantly, your doctor will have the best information if you want to know what to do if a wound won’t heal.
If you can, also seek the advice of friends and family to help you. Stay occupied with chats and low-stress tasks while you heal, and ensure that you have help with receiving good nutrition, either through diet or through protein supplementation.
Shorten your recovery time with collagen
The best advice for wound healing is a combination of good nutrition and attentive wound management. Focusing on these areas can help you avoid the majority of slow healing wounds causes.
To ensure your wound heals as smoothly as possible, you should keep the area clean and covered, check for signs of infection, follow your doctor’s advice, and ensure you are getting enough collagen for effective wound healing.
You are less likely to suffer a collagen deficiency from age or poor nutrition if you take a collagen supplement daily during wound healing. That’s because it’s difficult to get proper collagen intake through your diet alone.
Give your body the nutritional resources it needs to go through the stages of a healing wound by taking a medical-grade collagen supplement. A medical-grade supplement is FDA-approved and tested by medical professionals.
ProT Gold offers a high-quality, nano-hydrolyzed collagen supplement that is medical-grade. It is trusted for use in thousands of medical facilities across the country, and is formulated for full absorption in just 15 minutes or less.
Ask your doctor how a collagen supplement can speed up wound healing and help you avoid many of the slow healing wounds causes.