What you need to know about pressure sores


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From MDA Quest

From MDA Quest

What are pressure sores?

Pressure sores (also known as bed sores or pressure ulcers) are areas of damaged skin caused by staying in one position for too long. This reduces blood flow to the area. Without enough blood, the skin can die and a sore may form. They commonly form where your bones are close to your skin, such as tailbone, ankles, back, elbows, heels and hips. They develop quickly and can be difficult to treat when paired with limited mobility.

Who is at risk?

People who are bedridden, use a wheelchair, or have limited mobility are considered high risk for developing pressure sores. The Mayo Clinic provides a list of the symptoms of the different stages of pressure sores.

What should I do if I have a pressure sore?

If you notice the beginning of a sore, change position to relieve the pressure. If there is no improvement over the 24-48 hours, seek advice from your doctor. These sores may lead to serious infections, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms and to seek immediate medical care if you show signs of infection, such as fever, drainage or a foul odor from a sore, or increased heat and redness in the surrounding skin.

What can I do to prevent pressure sores?

The best prevention is to make sure there are no major pressure points and that you shift position regularly.

In addition, good nutrition and hydration helps to keep your skin healthy. You also want to make sure that your skin is properly moisturized, but not too dry or wet.

For those with limited mobility, it is a good idea to have a caregiver check for any skin discolouration or irritation on a regular basis.

Watch online videos about this topic

Resources & more information:

The Mayo Clinic

MDA Quest

US National Library of Medicine: Medline

Facing Disability

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3 Responses

  1. Rhona Gillies says:

    My brother has to lean on his elbows all the time and this is starting to become a major problem in his life with pressure sores on his elbow. I just wanted a way of him controlling the damage thats being done. I have instructed him to try and keep the integrity of his skin with good hygiene, nutrition and moisturisation of the area but he needs a solution fast, a way of cushioning his elbow. Any ideas? Thankyou.

  2. Kristy says:

    “The best prevention is to make sure there are no major pressure points and that you shift position regularly.” – absolutely agreed! One interesting solution for that is to try wheelchairs with special features, with the capacity to either tilt in space or to attain a standing position.

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