Types of Wounds

Based on the cause, site and depth, wounds can be differentiated as:

Open or closed wounds

Wounds can be either open or closed. The wounds that are accompanied by exposure of the underlying tissue or organs and visible to the naked eye are classified as open wounds. Wounds that are formed which do not have any involvement of underlying tissue and organ exposure are termed as closed wounds.

Acute or chronic wounds

Depending on the time taken to heal the wound, wounds can be classified either as an acute or chronic wound. Wounds that can heal quickly without any associated complications and within the expected time frame are known as acute wounds. Wounds that take a longer time to heal and are often associated with complications such as pus formation and infections are classified as chronic wounds. Chronic wounds can be further divided into various types such as:

Pressure wounds which include wounds such as bedsores, decubitus ulcers and pressure sores and are occurring as a result of applying pressure or shearing force on the skin. Individuals suffering from restricted mobility which can occur as a result of medical conditions or loss of the ability to walk along with movements are generally prone to developing pressure wounds. Bony prominences such as the tailbones, hips, heels, ankles and bones are the most places where pressure ulcers are most likely to develop.

Diabetic ulcers are the wounds exhibited by diabetic patients which occur mainly in the feet and caused as a result of impairment to the nerves and circulation in the body and can be classified as neuropathic, ischaemic or neuro ischemic types of diabetic ulcers. If not treated properly, diabetic foot ulcers may give rise to extremely dangerous infections and later also cause gangrene which may require extreme interventional methods such as amputation. Thus diabetic patients should be maintaining proper foot care and timely regulating of blood glucose levels should also be done. 

Clean or contaminated wounds

Based on how the wounds incurred look, wounds can be either called as clean or contaminated. Wounds that are devoid of the presence of any debris or foreign materials embedded in the injured site are called clean wounds. Wounds that show the presence of either dirt, bacteria or other foreign debris in the wound are classified as contaminated wounds.

Internal or external wounds

Wounds may be differentiated as internal or external wounds. Wounds that may be incurred as a result of impaired circulation in the body, derailment of the proper functioning of the nervous system, wounds occurring as a side effect of neuropathy and other mental illnesses, decreased supply of either blood, oxygen and other essential nutrients to various body parts come under the category of internal wounds. Wounds that are caused as a result of outside injury by either force or trauma are classified as external wounds which can be further divided into penetrating or non penetrating wounds.

Non penetrating wounds may be caused due to undergoing either a blunt force trauma or as a result of injury due to friction associated with surfaces. Some of the non-penetrating wounds include abrasions, lacerations, contusions and concussions. Wounds that drive through the skin and usually occur as a result of trauma are called penetrating wounds. Some of the examples of penetrating wounds include stab wounds, deep and superficial cuts and surgical wounds. 


The extent of skin damage caused as a result of burns determines whether the burn injury suffered is a minor or serious wound and can be further classified as first- degree burns, second-degree burns and third-degree burns and depending on the severity of the burns, medical intervention should be followed as per protocol.

Compromised skin grafts

Because of the involvement of the inadequate supply of oxygen to tissues, failed skin grafts and skin flaps can be classified as a type of wound. The primary function of a skin graft is the supply of oxygen from the healthy tissue to the wounded tissue. Partially or completely failed skin grafts occur when the desired oxygen supply is not achieved which may sometimes be induced by some external and internal factors such as age, nutritional disorders, smoking and exposure to radiation. 


The condition where the bone gets infected is called osteomyelitis. Infections can occur as a result of crossing either through the bloodstream or by contamination from nearby infected tissues. When there is an injury to the bone itself causing it to get exposed to various germs, the infection may originate in the bone itself. The condition of osteomyelitis which is predominantly occurring in children mainly affects the bones of the legs and arms. In adults, osteomyelitis mainly manifests in the bones lining the spinal column. 

Diabetic patients with the underlying condition of diabetic ulcers in the foot may be more prone to get osteomyelitis in the feet. The treatment of osteomyelitis involves the surgical removal of the affected bone parts and then infusing with extremely high doses of antibiotics to prevent further spread of infection in the surrounding areas.


The condition where there is interference with bone healing is called Osteoradionecrosis. This condition mainly occurs in those individuals who have been injected with large doses of radiation, especially in the jaw area. Osteoradionecrosis is often associated with the complications of various dental surgical procedures and also the extraction of teeth. Studies show that large doses of radiation may cause a significant decrease in the blood supply to the body. This leads to death of the bone tissue or necrosis.

Surgical wounds 

The aftermath of any operation leads to the formation of a surgical wound. Surgical wounds can be caused by any procedure involving the process of cutting through the skin. The type of operation determines the type, length and location of the surgical cut which can be large in case of complex procedures and small in the case of laparoscopic procedures.

Venous stasis

Also called venous insufficiency ulcer, venous stasis ulcer is referred to as a lack of blood flow to the affected area in the skin. These types of ulcers occur most commonly in the lower limbs between the ankle and the knee and it is characterized by a change in skin colour from red to black or blue and it is associated with the formation of bruises.

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