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Diabetes

Average healing time for wounds?

10/06/2005

Question:

I`ve heard that diabetics have a slower wound healing time. Suppose you have a sore on the top of your big toe (let`s say you scraped your toe and it produced a sore with a scab about a half-inch in size). What is the average healing rate and how does one determine if his/her sores are healing slower than usual? Is there a good rate of measurement from which to compare?

Answer:

Your question sounds simple and you would think there would be a simple answer.  Unfortunately, there are some more variables to take into account.  I am going to make some assumptions about the nature of the sore to give a simple and rough approximation for the commonest situation and then give you my best opinion. 

I can't tell what the dimension you gave of half an inch refers to:  Answers would differ if this means an injury 1/2 inch deep versus a linear wound 1/2 inch long where the two sides come together nicely versus a round ulcer 1/2 inch across.  In the simplest situation, a 1/2 inch long cut, the injury should be largely covered over and showing signs of healing within 7-10 days.  With the other injuries, you should similarly see healing tissue growing towards the center and covering over the vast proportion of the wound in a similar period of time.  Poor diabetes control or poor nutrition could both delay this.  The presence of fluid accumulation in the surrounding tissue (the technical term is edema) not simply resulting from the injury but from heart failure or another body system problem could delay this.

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati