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What causes wounds, cuts and grazes?

Wounds can be caused by something sudden, such as a knife or a burn or a bad knock. Wounds can be caused deliberately, such as during surgery.

Wounds can be caused by infections, such as infections after surgery and infections in insect bites.

Wounds can be caused by being immobile, such as bed sores or pressure injuries.

Wounds can also be caused by chronic illnesses. For example, people with tuberculosis or leprosy can get ulcers. And people with diabetes can get ulcers after even the tiniest of knocks or scratches.

The signs of a wound are:

  • a cut in the skin
  • a graze to the skin
  • redness and swelling around a mark.

But you should see a doctor if:

  • the wound is deep
  • the wound is to or near your eye
  • the pain gets worse
  • the redness and swelling is increasing
  • you develop a temperature
  • the wound is from a bite, whether by an animal or another human
  • you have diabetes.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your wound, cut or graze, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).



Last reviewed: July 2015

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