Open Wound: Types, Treatments, and Complications

What Classifies as an Open Wound?

An open wound is an injury caused by an external or internal break in your skin. Nearly everyone experiences an open wound at some point during their lifetime. You should seek immediate medical attention if you are in a serious accident, especially if you are bleeding heavily.

Open Wound Treatment

In most cases, minor wounds can be treated at home with first aid. To prevent complications like infections, moderate to severe wounds and lacerations may require stitches, medical treatment, or antibiotics. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, wounds, cuts, and lacerations heal at different rates.

Types of Open Wounds

The most common causes of open wounds are falls, accidents with sharp objects, and car accidents. If you are involved in a serious accident, you should seek medical attention right away. This is particularly true if there is a lot of bleeding or if it lasts longer than 20 minutes.


Abrasions occur when your skin rubs or scrapes against a rough or hard surface. For example, road rash. Bleeding is usually minimal, but the wound needs to be scrubbed and cleaned to prevent infection.


Lacerations are deep cuts or tears in the skin. Lacerations are frequently caused by knife, tool, or machinery accidents. If a deep laceration occurs, bleeding may be rapid and extensive.


Generally, punctures are small holes caused by long, pointed objects, such as nails or needles. Bullets can sometimes cause punctures as well.

While a puncture may not bleed much, it can damage internal organs if the wound is deep enough. To prevent infection, get a tetanus shot after even a small puncture wound.


Avulsions are ruptures of the skin and tissue beneath them. An avulsion generally occurs when a person is involved in violent accidents, such as a body-crushing accident, an explosion, or a gunshot. This results in heavy bleeding.

In some cases, wounds can be treated at home, whereas in others, a medical approach is necessary.

How Do Doctors Treat an Open Wound?

Different methods may be used by your doctor to treat your open wound. Depending on the severity of the wound, your doctor may use skin glue, sutures, or stitches to close the wound. In case of puncture wounds, you may receive a tetanus shot.

Your doctor may not close the wound and allow it to heal naturally, depending on the location and risk of infection.

Wound Care Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Often, moisture is needed to speed up the healing process of cuts and scrapes, even when they are small. Stitches and staples may be necessary in cases of deep wounds.  Cover the wounds with bandages and keep them moist to speed up the healing process.

Several studies have found that wounds that are kept moist and covered regenerate faster and the number of inflammation-causing cells decreases more rapidly than if they’re allowed to dry out. The best way to heal a wound is to keep it moist and covered for five days.