Pressure ulcers can obviously be much more than an eyesore. They can be extremely painful and potentially even dangerous if they are not treated properly and an infection sets in. These are some of the ways to prevent this serious problem from occurring.
What they Are
Pressure ulcers are also known as bedsores, pressure sores and decubitus ulcers. They typically form on bony parts of the heels, buttocks, back, hips or the ankles. They form when a person either lies or sits on a bony area for two long. Pressure will often slow down blood flow to the affected areas or stop it completely, damaging the skin and underlying tissues. They can also occur due to friction or shearing, such as when part of the skin drags across a surface such as a sheet. Blisters can form and skin can tear as a result.
There are many ways that patients and caregivers can work to prevent pressure ulcers from taking place. First, make sure you check your skin several times each day to look for skin redness in bony areas. If you have a hard time seeing certain parts of your body, either use a mirror or have someone check them for you. Get treatment as soon as possible if you spot redness.
If you have to be in bed all day, change your position every two hours. If you are in a wheelchair, change your position once an hour. Set up a timer to remind you if needed, or keep a written schedule nearby. Caregivers should never slide patients to help them move in bed – always lift them. This is particularly important if the patient has delicate skin that could easily be damaged by shearing.
Protecting the skin is another way to keep pressure ulcers from occurring. Use wedges of foam or pillows in order to keep bony areas from rubbing against each other. For example, put pillows between your knees. If you’re on your back, put either a pillow or a foam pad under each leg from the mid-calf to the ankle. This will keep your heels from constantly touching the bed.
These are just some of the ways that pressure ulcers can be prevented. Call a Dallas area professional with Advanced Foot & Ankle Care Specialists at (214) 366-4600 or contact us online to learn more.