The Wound Healing Process

The Healing Process

The healing process of a wound involves three stages.

  • The Inflamatory Stage
  • The Proliferation Stage
  • The Maturation or Remodeling Stage

The first stage is called the Inflammatory Stage. This stage involves the body's reaction to the wound. Blood vessels constrict at the wound site to prevent blood loss and blood platelets form a clot. Once the clot is complete, the blood vessels expand for maximum blood flow to the wound. White blood cells go to the area to prevent infection. This stage typically lasts 4-6 days.

The Proliferation Stage is next. This stage involves the growth of collagen, the protein fiber that gives skin its strength, within the wound. This growth causes the edges of the wound to shrink. In addition, new blood vessels form at the wound site. Granulation tissue is present. This tissue is light red to dark pink in color, is soft and bumpy in appearance, and is extremely fragile.

The last stage is the Maturation or Remodeling Stage. In this stage the healing wound is supplied with even more collagen. The resulting scar tissue will appear to fade with time as a result, but will only be 80% as strong as the original tissue. For this reason it must be protected and monitored closely.

If any of the stages are compromised in any way it may lead to a chronic wound that needs immediate attention and care. Many wounds that become a non-healing chronic wound are delayed or stuck in the inflammatory stage. Reasons may include infection, uncontrolled diabetes, excessive pain, malnutrition, smoking, and other contributing factors. The key is to implement the appropriate strategies to reduce, control, or stop the contributing factors that are delaying healing. Your podiatrist is uniquely qualified to decide on a treatment protocol that will fit your individual needs.