About Pressure Ulcers

  • Sores often result from pressure but may also result from pulling on the skin or friction, particularly over bony areas.
  • The diagnosis is usually based on a physical examination.
  • Treatment includes cleansing, removal of pressure from the affected area, special dressings, and, sometimes, surgery.

Pressure sores can occur in people of any age who are bedridden, chairbound, or unable to reposition themselves. They are more common among older people. They tend to occur over bony projections where pressure on the skin can be concentrated, such as over the hip bones, tailbone, heels, ankles, and elbows. They occur where there is pressure on the skin from a bed, wheelchair, cast, splint, or another hard object. Pressure sores can be life-threatening if they are untreated or if underlying health conditions prevent them from healing.

Even with optimal medical management, many patients require a trip to the operating room for débridement, diversion of the urinary or fecal stream, the release of flexion contractures, wound closure, or amputation.