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What is a Pressure Wound?
A pressure wound is known by various names: pressure sore, pressure ulcer, decubitus ulcer and skin breakdown – to name a few. It is an injury to the skin and/or tissues under the skin. Constant pressure on an area of skin reduces blood supply to the area. Over time, it can cause the skin to break down and form an open sore or ulcer. Pressure wounds are more likely to occur if an individual is confined to a bed or wheelchair.
Pressure sores most often form on the skin over bony areas where there is little cushion between the bone and the skin. Most pressure sores form on the lower part of the body, including over the tailbone and on the back along the spine, on the buttocks and on the hips. They also can form in other areas of the body such as the heels or back of the head – wherever constant pressure is exerted on the skin. For the purposes of this article, we will focus our attention to the pressure wounds that can occur at the tailbone (coccyx) and the butt bones (ischial tuberosity’s).
Pressure sores can range from red areas on the surface of the skin to severe tissue damage that goes deep into muscle and bone. These sores are hard to treat and slow to heal. Other problems, such as bone, blood, and skin infections, can develop when pressure sores do not heal properly.
How do Pressure Wounds occur?
- Constant pressure on the skin and tissues is the most common reason for the development of a pressure wound.
- Irritation of the skin from sweat, urine and feces
- Also shear force and friction burns are grouped with pressure wounds
As we get older, our skin gets more thin and dry and less elastic, so it is easier to damage. Poor nutrition common among older people and people who cannot move easily-makes these natural changes in the skin worse. Skin in this condition may easily develop a pressure sore.