Your wound requires proper care to ensure that it heals as quickly as possible. Healing it as quickly as possible reduces the risk of infection and reduces scarring. Minimising scarring is very important to prevent unnecessary stiffness and pain. Here at Riverina Hand Therapy we deal with wounds on a daily basis.  These can be from surgery, or from an accident, such as a crush, or laceration.  Here are some tips for managing your wounds.

Time frames for healing

When your wound has been closed by dressings or sutures (commonly called stitches) it usually heals in around 2 weeks. A wound that is not closed will take longer depending on its size and health. Healing time depends on various factors, such as blood flow to the area, the amount of trauma, immune system health, nutrition and whether you smoke.  Consuming food and drinks that contain caffeine may also delay the healing of a complex wound.

Wound dressings

Your therapist will apply dressings chosen specifically for your wound. Dressings are used to help your wound heal most efficiently. They assist in preventing infection, absorbing blood and other fluid, protect sensitive nerve endings to reduce pain, and maintain temperature and moisture in the wound for faster healing. Generally your dressing will not be changed frequently as this can slow down healing.

If your wound becomes too dry or too wet, it will take longer to heal. A very dry wound can appear cracked or have a thick, hard dry layer over it. A wound that is too wet will have soggy, pale skin around it.

Unless your therapist advises otherwise, leave your dressings on. You should, however, get the dressing changed if any fluid soaks through your dressing and is visible, as this is greatly increases the risk of infection.

Caring for your wound

Healthy wounds are red or pink in colour, and the surrounding skin looks normal. It is not uncommon for your affected hand or arm to have dry, peeling skin. If your therapist recommends washing the wound, do not clean it with strong chemical such as Betadine, as this will slow healing by killing new cells. Reducing smoking and caffeine intake will help the wound to heal faster by improving the delivery of nutrients to the wound. A healthy diet will also assist in efficient healing.   

Caring for sutures and wires

After surgery, you may have sutures or external wires. It is very important that you do not get your sutures or a wire wet until advised. Sutures are in place to hold the edges of your wound together. Getting the wound wet greatly increases your risk of infection. The external wire penetrates bone to hold joints or fractures in place. As a result, it is very important to keep the wire dry and prevent infection of your bone. To clean the wire, use alcohol wipes once or twice a week as required to gently remove any dry fluid around the wire.

When to talk to the therapist about your wound

Talk to the therapist if you are concerned about your wound. If your wound develops an odour, becomes painful, or you notice redness, heat or swelling, it is wise to see your therapist as you may have developed an infection which will set your recovery back. If you have any concerns, drop us a line at 02 6925 0157 or email us a photo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.