Pressure ulcer - care; Bedsore - care; Decubitus ulcer - care
Pressure sores occur when there is too much pressure on the skin for too long. This reduces blood flow to the area. Without enough blood, the skin can die and a sore may form.
You are more likely to get a pressure sore if you:
Pressure sores are grouped by the severity of symptoms. Stage I is the mildest stage. Stage IV is the worst.
There are 2 other types of pressure sores that don't fit into the stages.
Pressure sores tend to form where skin covers bone, such as your:
Stage I or II sores will heal if cared for carefully. Stage III and IV sores are harder to treat and may take a long time to heal. Here's how to care for a pressure sore at home.
Relieve the pressure on the area.
Care for the sore as directed by your health care provider. Keep the wound clean to prevent infection. Clean the sore every time you change a dressing.
Avoid further injury or friction.
Take care of your health.
DO NOT massage the skin near or on the ulcer. This can cause more damage. DO NOT use donut-shaped or ring-shaped cushions. They reduce blood flow to the area, which may cause sores.
Call your provider if you develop blisters or an open sore.
Call immediately if there are signs of infection, such as:
Marston WA. Wound care. In: Cronenwett JL, Johnston KW, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 83.
Perry D, Borchert K, Burke S, et al. Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. Health care protocol: pressure ulcer prevention and treatment protocol. Updated March 2014.
Witkowski JA, Parish LC, Campbell C, Parish JL. Decubitus ulcers. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson I, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 52.
Last reviewed on: 5/17/2016
Reviewed by: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.