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How to Tell When a Skin Ulcer Is Healing

A skin ulcer is an open sore on the body. It's most often found on legs and feet but can show up anywhere. Skin ulcers may start as small red areas, but as the skin sloughs off the area they can become quite deep and large, open wounds. There are many conditions that can cause skin ulcers, from trauma to the skin to diabetes and poor circulation. It's important to know when a skin ulcer is healing, because if it does not show signs of getting better, medical attention is necessary.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Take notes on the condition of the skin ulcer in a notebook. This will allow you to see if there are any changes in the condition of the ulcer from day to day, and will help get a better handle on whether the ulcer is healing.

Healing Stages of Scars

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Notice the color of the skin ulcer. If the outer edge of the ulcer is gradually progressing from deep red and purple to a lighter flesh tone, the infection may be reducing.

Check to see if the wound is filling in. If the inside edge of the skin ulcer appears to be drawing closer together, it means the cells are making collagen and rebuilding the tissue area.

How to Distinguish Between Cuts and Cold Sores

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See if a scab is forming over the wound. If a scab forms, it's trying to build new skin. When a skin ulcer tries to cover over and close up the wound, this is a very good sign of healing.

Look for scar tissue to form. Scar tissue indicates that new cells are building up underneath and working to increase strength of the new skin.


Open sores and skin ulcers must be kept clean to keep them free of infection. If you have a skin ulcer or sore that is not showing signs of healing, seek medical attention. It may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.