Skip main navigation

Types of wound

Introduction to the different types of wound
Dog bite on hand
© Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain
Wounds can be caused in a number of different ways by a variety of different objects, be it blunt, sharp or projectile. They are classified into several categories dependent on the cause and resulting injury:

Incised wound – A clean, straight cut caused by a sharp edge (i.e. a knife). Tends to bleed heavily as multiple vessels may be cut directly across. Connecting structures such as ligaments and tendons may also be involved.

Laceration – A messy looking wound caused by a tearing or crushing force. Doesn’t tend to bleed as much as incised wounds but often causes more damage to surrounding tissues.

Abrasion – A wound caused by a scraping force or friction. Tends not to be very deep but can often contain many foreign bodies such as dirt (i.e. after a fall on loose ground).

Puncture – A deep wound caused by a sharp, stabbing object (i.e. a nail). May appear small from the outside but may damage deep tissues. Particularly dangerous on the chest, abdomen or head where major organs are at risk.

Avulsion – A wound caused by a tearing force in which tissue is torn away from its normal position. May bleed profusely depending on the size and location. The tissue is often completely detached.

Amputation – The loss of a distinct body part such as a limb, finger, toe or ear. Often very severe with profuse bleeding. In the cases of limb loss this is a medical emergency.

© University of Glasgow, 2017
This article is from the free online

Basic First Aid: How to Be an Everyday Hero

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now