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What Everybody Ought to Know about the Healing Times of Wounds and Tissues

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Have you recently had surgery or injured yourself and are you now wondering how long it will take until you are fully recovered? Consultants normally use the following time scales to estimate a full recovery: By 6 weeks you should feel fair, by 3 months you should feel good, by 6 months you should feel great, and by a year’s time you should be fully recovered. This is as long as you receive the appropriate treatment via your consultant and/or physiotherapist.

There are 4 stages to the healing process of an open wound and 4 stages to the healing process of tissue damaged by inflammation.

The healing process of a wound involves:

1. The Clotting Phase.
This is when a clot is formed around the open site in your skin to stop the bleeding and to reduce the risk of infection. Once this has happened, white blood cells are sent to the area within 3 to 24 hours to engulf any bacteria that may have got through. New skin cells will then be laid down after 24 to 48 hours.

2. The Inflammation Phase.
More white blood cells are released to ensure that all bacteria is killed, damaged tissue is removed and new tissue and more small blood vessels are produced to form a tight seal at skin level. This takes up to 6 days.

3. Proliferative Phase.
In the proliferative phase, granulation tissue is formed. This is new connective tissue and tiny blood vessels, which form on the surface of a wound and fill the gap in the wound from the borders towards the centre. As the tissue matures it is able to contract and reduce the size of the wound. This phase takes up to 4 weeks.

4. Maturation Phase.
During this phase, unnecessary tissue is removed, but you will still be left with a scar. This phase can last for a year or longer.

The healing process of damaged tissue (eg. muscle, tendons, ligaments) involves:

1. Recall Phase
The adrenal glands (the endocrine glands that sit at the top of the kidneys) increase the production of your body’s anti-inflammatories.

2. Resolution Phase
In this phase your white blood cells remove damaged tissue and red blood cells in the inflamed area. If this phase is completed it will trigger the tissues to become inflamed again.

3. Regeneration Phase
Blood vessels are repaired and damaged cells are removed and replaced with new cells. Depending on where the inflammation is, it can be a slow process.

5. Repair Phase
During this phase new tissue is generated by the release of growth hormones, but it requires a balance of anti-inflammatories and pro-inflammatories to be present. This is to promote production of tissue, but also to ensure they are not damaged.

These time scales and healing phases will determine what you can perform during your treatment sessions and when you can get back to your regular sporting activities, so ask your consultant and physiotherapist about where you are in your healing process.

Are you looking to work with a specialist physiotherapist to help you recover? Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email us at