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Five Types of Wounds

author image Stephanie Chandler
Stephanie Chandler is a freelance writer whose master's degree in biomedical science and over 15 years experience in the scientific and pharmaceutical professions provide her with the knowledge to contribute to health topics. Chandler has been writing for corporations and small businesses since 1991. In addition to writing scientific papers and procedures, her articles are published on Overstock.com and other websites.
Five Types of Wounds
A doctor dresses a patient's wound. Photo Credit Amawasri/iStock/Getty Images


A wound is any type of injury to the skin. Wounds can be open wounds, in which the skin is broken or torn or closed wounds. Although open wounds can bleed and run the risk of infections, closed wounds can also be dangerous depending on the extent of tissue damage. There are five major categories of wounds; each is distinctive in its appearance and the source of the injury.


An incision wound is a cut in the skin caused by a sharp object such as a knife, broken glass, scissors or surgeon’s scalpel. Incision wounds are ‘neat’ and the edges of the skin are usually smooth.


A laceration is injury to the skin that results in the skin being cut or torn open. Lacerations can be shallow, only injuring the surface skin, or deep, causing injury to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels or nerves. Lacerations are most commonly made by some sort of blunt trauma such as being hit with a fist or baseball bat. Unlike an incision wound, a laceration is generally jagged because the skin is torn instead of cut.


An abrasion is a type of wound in which the skin is scraped or rubbed off. When skin is dragged on carpet, the resulting wound, often called a carpet burn, is an abrasion. Abrasions are usually superficial wounds, meaning that only the outer layers of skin are affected. A deep abrasion, one that penetrates to the inner layers of skin, can leave a scar. Parts of the body with thin layers of skin, such as the knees and elbows, are most prone to abrasions.


A contusion is a kind of closed wound, meaning that the skin is not broken. Contusions are caused by blunt force trauma to the skin that results in tissue damage. When the blood vessels under the skin are broken, blood pools under the skin causing a bruise.


A puncture wound is created when a sharp object enters the skin. These wounds are usually small and do not bleed a lot. Although these wounds tend to close over quickly, they still need treatment as infection is a possibility. Puncture wounds are prone to a tetanus infection, so it is important to seek medical advice for any puncture wound. Common types of puncture wounds include stepping on a nail or bites from animals.


Seek medical attention right away if your wound is draining, you develop a fever, or the area around your wound is red or swollen.

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