Disordered cell function within chronic wounds generates many parameters that can be measured to differentiate between healing and non healing status. Theoretically, these may form the basis of a wound assessment system to define disease severity and response to treatment. In a review of tissue, wound exudate and microbiology studies of venous leg ulcers, we identify many such parameters that are associated with healing status. These include cytokines, proteases and their inhibitors, senescence markers, oxidative stress markers and microbiological status defined by culture. Some of these, such as protease level in wound exudate, have been proposed as prognostic indicators of healing status and many more could be considered potential markers to incorporate into a wound assessment system. However, no published data are available that validate known wound components to accurately reflect wound progression on a single patient basis. Rather than further characterisation of the expression of known wound biomarkers, the development of an accurate and objective test for prediction of chronic wound outcome requires identification of an appropriate combination of novel molecules that vary coordinately with healing status.