A chronic wound is a wound that does not heal in an orderly set of stages and in a predictable amount of time the way most wounds do; wounds that do not heal within three months are often considered chronic. Chronic wounds seem to be detained in one or more of the phases of wound healing. For example, chronic wounds often remain in the inflammatory stage for too long. In acute wounds, there is a precise balance between production and degradation of molecules such as collagen; in chronic wounds this balance is lost and degradation plays too large a role.
Chronic wounds may never heal or may take years to do so. These wounds cause patients severe emotional and physical stress and create a significant financial burden on patients and the whole healthcare system.
Acute and chronic wounds are at opposite ends of a spectrum of wound healing types that progress toward being healed at different rates.