What Causes a Foot Wound that Won't Heal?

What Causes a Foot Wound that Won't Heal?

Your body has the unique ability to heal itself. When you get injured, your body immediately starts working to rebuild and repair damaged tissue with specialized cells.

But sometimes, certain health conditions can interfere with this healing process. Common conditions, like diabetes, infection, and circulatory problems, make it hard for your body to heal when you get wounded.

You might notice that your wound heals quite slowly — or not at all. These slow-healing wounds can occur anywhere, but they’re particularly common on feet. If you have a foot wound that doesn’t heal, it may continue growing larger and eventually become an ulcer.

Foot wounds and ulcers can pose serious risk to your overall health. At The Foot & Ankle SpecialistsLisa Burson, DPMJoe Aoun, DPM, and our team are committed to helping you understand how to care for your feet. We provide wound care services for adults of all ages in Bay City, Caro, and Lapeer, Michigan.

Read on to find out what causes foot wounds and why they don’t always heal like they should.

Common causes of foot wounds

Many slow-healing foot wounds start with small injuries that break the skin on your feet or toes. Maybe you stepped on something while walking barefoot, or maybe you developed blisters from a new pair of shoes. Once the skin is broken, you’re at risk of infection and other wound complications.

Friction can also cause foot wounds to develop. Your skin breaks down over time if it rubs repeatedly against socks or shoes. You may be more likely to develop a wound from friction if you have another foot condition, like bunionscorns, or hammertoe.

Small injuries might go unnoticed at first. But if they don’t heal properly, they can continue getting worse. Your risk of suffering a slow healing wound goes up if you have certain health conditions, including:


If you suffer a foot injury, infection can inhibit the healing process. There are many different types of infection, but one of the most serious is cellulitis, which is a bacterial skin infection that often causes pain, redness, and swelling, and it’s a common cause of slow-healing foot wounds.


Peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes. It causes permanent nerve damage, and it often affects the feet and legs first. Neuropathy makes you lose feeling in your feet, so you may not notice if you suffer an injury or if an existing injury starts getting worse.

Peripheral artery disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) develops when the arteries that carry blood from your heart get too narrow. Severe PAD can restrict blood supply to your skin and other tissues. If you get injured, low blood supply means your body can’t heal properly, and a slow-healing wound may develop.

Identifying a slow-healing wound

Many foot wounds start small and may go undetected at first. Unfortunately, the longer a wound goes unnoticed, the worse it may get. That’s why it’s important to learn the signs of slow-healing wounds and know if you’re at risk for complications.

Examine your feet regularly, and look for signs of injury. Wounds that aren’t healing properly often cause symptoms like:

If these symptoms sound familiar and you’ve had the same wound for more than a couple of weeks, schedule a wound care appointment with our team.

If you have diabetes, remember to get a diabetic foot exam at least once a year, even if you don’t have a foot wound or ulcer. Taking a proactive approach can help you avoid worsening nerve damage and slow-healing wounds.

Slow-healing foot wounds need to be taken seriously to protect your health. Find comprehensive wound care at The Foot & Ankle Specialists by calling the office nearest you or requesting an appointment online today.

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