Wound Q&A for patients and relatives

This material is produced by EWMA in collaboration with the co-operating organisations of EWMA. The questions selected for this section are based on wound care professionals’ experience of care and supervision of individuals with chronic wounds. 

The questions and answers have been grouped in the following sections:  

The information provided has been evaluated by English speaking patients with chronic wounds.

A holistic approach to wound care is important to ensure that the most appropriate treatment and man-agement is provided. It is therefore recommended that you inform your General Practitioner (GP) and/or wound care nurse about other issues related to your health status (other chronic diseases, medication, etc.) and ask questions about your wound. These questions can lead to a valuable dialogue with your clinician with the aim of helping your wound to heal. Working with your clinician and the treatment plan helps to ensure that any potential complications are minimised.


Definitions: Primary types of chronic/non healing wounds/ulcers

  • Venous leg ulcer: this type of ulcer occurs around the ankle area. They are shallow and can be painful. They are caused when the veins in the legs are damaged or are not working properly and therefore do not return blood back to the heart as efficiently as they should. They are also called venous stasis ulcers or sometimes varicose ulcers.
  • Arterial leg ulcer: This type of ulcer usually occurs on the foot or the lower part of the leg. They can be small and sometimes deep and often quite painful. They are caused when the arterial blood flow to the area is reduced and often occur among people who have some form of heart disease.
  • Mixed ulcer: This ulcer is due to a combination of venous and arterial disease.
  • Diabetic foot ulcer: This type of ulcer occurs on the foot of a person with diabetes. There are three main types; neuropathic (due to lack of sensation); ischaemic (due to poor blood supply); neuro-ischaemic (a combination of both).
  • Pressure ulcer: This type of ulcer is caused by pressure and/or shearing force. These ulcers may also be re-ferred to as bed sores or decubitus ulcers.

For other clinical terms relevant to wound management, please see the Wound Glossary

In this Q&A section we provide replies to some of the most frequent questions asked by patients with a chronic/non healing wound.

However, please note that EWMA cannot provide replies concerning specific patient situations. If you have specific concerns or questions about your wound, please discuss these with your clinician. In this Q&A, “clinician” may refer to your nurse, doctor, physiotherapist or other health care professional with expertise in wound management.