Open a PDF version to print this topic

HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Helping my wound heal

Me pēhea au e whakarauora i tōku taotūtanga?

There are many things you can do to help your wound heal.

Stay healthy and keep an eye on any other conditions

Some medical conditions can affect how easily your body can heal a wound. For example, having diabetes, an inflammatory disease like rheumatoid arthritis or poor circulation can slow down your healing. Talk to your doctor or nurse about how you can get your medical conditions under control. You want your overall health to be as good as it can.

Eat well

Wounds need good nutrition to heal. It's important to eat well so you get all the protein, vitamins and minerals your body needs to heal. Read about Good food for wound healing.

If you think you or your relative might not be eating well enough, talk to your doctor or nurse. They may suggest how you can improve what you eat, advise you to take supplements or refer you to a dietitian.

Drink plenty of fluid

Drink at least 8 cups of fluid every day. You may need more if your wound is losing a lot of fluid. Where possible, have milk or milky drinks such as fruit smoothies, or coffee or Milo made with milk. You can also have low-sugar drinks, tea, coffee and water. If you're underweight, you may need an oral nutrition supplement drink such as Complan. Talk to your doctor about this.

Drinking too much alcohol can affect your healing. Read the information on Alcohol & reducing your risks from drinking.

Keep active

When you're healing, you need good circulation to deliver all the oxygen and nutrients your wound needs to heal. Keeping mobile is important for healthy circulation. Gentle physical activity such as walking can help your wound to heal.

Keep any leg wounds raised (elevated)

Standing in one place for long periods can slow healing. When you aren't walking around, keep your leg up as much as possible. You could put your leg on a footstool or lie on the sofa with your foot above the level of your heart. This helps to reduce swelling in your leg, which can help healing.

Talk to your doctor or nurse if you get pain in your leg when it’s raised, and it gets better when you lower it.

Talk to your doctor about any medication you are taking

Some medications may affect how well you heal.

Do not stop any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. You may need to keep taking them but with closer supervision from your doctor or nurse.

Stop smoking

Smoking slows healing, so now is a good time to stop. If you would like help to stop, discuss this with your general practice team or pharmacist. You can also find lots of resources to help you stop smoking on How to become smokefree.

Keep an eye out for any infection

Signs that your wound may have become infected include increasing pain or tenderness, increasing or spreading redness and increasing fluid or pus from your wound. If you think your wound could be infected, see your doctor or nurse as soon as possible.

Get enough rest and sleep

Lack of sleep can slow down healing so try to get enough rest. If you're having trouble sleeping, read these Tips for sleeping well (sleep hygiene).

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2022.


See also:

Good food for wound healing

How to manage your burn

Page reference: 96831

Review key: HISKW-128569