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What is a wound?

A wound is any break in the skin. A wound will usually heal on its own. Wounds that don’t heal on their own are called hard-to-heal wounds. These require support and advice from a healthcare professional to promote wound healing. 

There are various types of hard-to-heal wounds, which can be exacerbated by:

  • Pressure over a bony area (can lead to pressure ulcers)
  • Injury to the legs of people with poor circulation (arterial or venous ulcers)
  • Injury to the feet of patients with diabetes (diabetic foot ulcers), due to poor circulation or loss of feeling
  • Surgical wounds that reopen (dehiscence)

In addition, a number of factors may delay wound healing, including:

  • Underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain treatments, such as chemotherapy

How are wounds treated?

Dressings are used to protect a wound from bacteria and promote wound healing.Keeping a clean dressing on your wound will help it to heal. 

Your healthcare professional will recommend specific products to use and tell you when and how to change your dressing. 

How can I help my wound heal?

It is important to follow instructions provided from your healthcare professional. You may be given advice to adapt your lifestyle habits, such as:

  • Cease smoking and limit alcohol intake
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and keep hydrated
  • Change your seating position & posture
  • Select alternative footwear
  • Keep a clean dressing on your wound. 

A wide variety of dressings are available which can:

  • Protect a wound
  • Absorb wound leakage
  • Keep it warm and moist (which supports healing)
  • Contain antimicrobial properties which kill bacteria that can delay  wound healing

When do I need to change my dressing?

All of these dressings can stay in place for up to 7 days however your dressing should be changed as per your healthcare professional’s advice or if it starts to leak.

If you have any of the following signs or symptoms, contact your healthcare professional:

  • New or increasing size of wound
  • New or spreading redness or swelling of the skin around the wound edge
  • New or increasing pain
  • New or increase of smell after cleansing of wound
  • More wound leakage than normal


Convatec is proud to support the National Pharmacy Association.

For more information on managing your wounds, please speak to your pharmacist, nurse or GP.  

© 2022 Convatec. ®/™ indicate trademarks of the Convatec group of companies. AP-56974-GBR-ENG-v1. Date of Prep: September 2022
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