A pressure injury, often known as a pressure ulcer, pressure sore or bed sore, is an injury to the skin and underlying tissue caused when too much pressure is placed on the affected area.
This often happens to people who use a wheelchair or are confined to bed, even for a short period of time (for example, after surgery or an injury).
The constant pressure against the skin reduces the blood supply to that area and the affected tissue is broken down. Friction (rubbing), over-wetting of the skin often due to incontinence, and shear (sliding down in a bed for example) also contribute to a pressure injury.
Consulting a healthcare provider
If you think you or your loved one has a pressure injury, then you should consult a health care provider right away. If you are unsure about a wound that persists on a ‘pressure point’ or ‘rubbing’ area of the body, then you should also consult a provider. While you are caring for your wound at home per your provider’s instructions and the wound gets worse or persists or if there are signs of infection such as redness, swelling, fever, pain or burning, increased drainage, becomes warm to the touch, then consult a health care provider.
Products for Pressure ulcers
Nurse and Patient Preferred Brand Mepilex® Border is an easy to use, all-in-one, hospital quality dressing featuring Safetac® technology.
Mepilex Border Flex (Oval)
Nurse and Patient Preferred Brand Mepilex® Border Flex (Oval) is an easy to use, all-in-one, hospital quality dressing featuring Safetac® technology.
Mepilex Border Lite
Nurse and Patient Preferred Brand Mepilex® Border Lite is a hospital grade, all-in-one dressing featuring Safetac® technology.
Other Wound Types
Abrasions (or gazes) are superficial wounds, where generally, only the outermost layer of the skin (the epidermis) is rubbed away. Sometimes abrasions go deeper into the skin layers (dermis).
Many burns affect only the skin, and are superficial (like a sunburn). Burns that affect deeper tissue are classed as partial-thickness (wet, painful, pink or red) or full-thickness (dry, no pain, grey/brownish, may look like normal skin but without sensation) depending on the depth. All burns may be painful, and it is often the superficial and partial-thickness ones that are the most painful.
About 15% of people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer due to aspects of the disease. Diabetes can damage nerves (neuropathy) and is often associated with poor blood circulation in the lower legs. These may make a person with diabetes more susceptible to wounds, infection and delayed wound healing.
A skin tear usually occurs in the elderly or those with fragile skin, as a result of a bumping into something, dressing changes with inappropriate dressings, or vigorous washing and drying of the skin.
Leg ulcers are breaks in the skin (generally below the knee) that can take a long time to heal due to underlying disease. You may hear them described as ‘chronic wounds’.
Some patients who have radiotherapy or radiation treatments may experience skin reddening and breakdown in the area. These are called radiotherapy or radiation skin reactions.
Scars are a natural part of the skin’s healing process, following a wound or injury. Scars are formed when the dermis – the deep, thick layer of skin – is damaged.
Surgical Wounds or Incisions result when you have an operation, or if you get a cut accidentally. The incision, wound or cut is closed using stitches (sutures), clips glue or tape, depending on the site and depth of the cut.
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