Current Dermatology Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 136–146 | Cite as

Pain Management in Patients with Chronic Wounds

  • Joshua S. Mervis
  • Daniel G. FedermanEmail author
Wound Care and Healing (H Lev-Tov, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Wound Care and Healing


Purpose of Review

Chronic wounds are increasing in prevalence and are often associated with significant pain, which can have a major impact on quality of life. Safe and effective pain management can be challenging, an unfortunate reality that is highlighted by the ongoing opioid crisis. This review aims to provide an evidence-based framework for pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic pain management in patients with chronic wounds.

Recent Findings

As reflected in the new CDC guidelines, no study has shown that long-term opioid use mitigates chronic pain. Non-pharmacologic therapies, including virtual reality and acupuncture, have shown efficacy and are promising adjuvant therapies for pain management.


Non-opioid pharmacotherapies and non-pharmacologic therapies are preferable to opioids for chronic pain related to non-healing wounds. The experience of pain is a subjective and complex biopsychosocial process that necessitates a rational, personalized, and often multimodal approach to management.


Chronic wounds Pain management Opioids Wound healing Wound pain Venous leg ulcer 



Every author listed meets the qualifications for authorship and has had the opportunity to read and comment upon the submitted manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major Importance

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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous SurgeryUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.VA Connecticut Healthcare SystemWest HavenUSA

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