When constant pressure is applied to particular areas of the body, reducing blood flow, the skin and underlying tissue can start to break down. This can result in injuries known as pressure sores, bedsores or pressure ulcers. Pressure sores typically start as painful, discoloured patches of skin that feel warm to the touch and if left untreated, they can develop into open wounds that impact the muscle and bone.
Some people are at a higher risk of developing pressure sores and they are most common among people with mobility problems. When you spend extended periods of time in the same position, the same areas of your body are put under pressure. The majority of people will experience pressure sores in the same area of their bodies and we have explored this in more detail below, along with some contributing factors and preventive measures.
Common High-Risk Areas of the Body
Certain parts of the body are prone to developing pressure sores due to their positioning. Some common high-risk areas include;
- Pelvis and Ischial Bones – Sitting down for long periods without shifting your weight can put pressure on these areas.
- Heels and Ankles – When you lay down in one position, whether you’re on your back or side, it may cause sores here.
- Hips and Lower Back – These areas are especially vulnerable when people are confined to wheelchairs or beds.
- Elbows and Shoulders – When lying on your side for a long period of time, these areas can be affected by pressure.
- Back of the Head and Ears – It can be easy to overlook, but these areas can be at risk when lying down without moving.
Factors Contributing to Pressure Sores
As mentioned above, people with mobility problems are more likely to experience issues with pressure sores. Spending the majority of the day sitting or lying in the same position puts constant pressure on specific areas, resulting in pressure injuries. Other factors can increase the risk of pressure sores too, such as;
- Weight and Nutritional Deficiency – A poor diet can impact the skin, making it more susceptible to breakdown. If you are underweight or dehydrated, this can also increase the risk of pressure sores developing.
- Age – Older adults often have thinner skin with less elasticity, which may be more prone to damage. The amount of fat under the skin can decrease with age too and this can impact how quickly pressure sores develop.
- Medical Conditions – Certain health conditions like diabetes, heart failure and peripheral arterial disease can affect blood flow. This can result in your skin being more vulnerable to pressure injuries.
- Incontinence and Sweat – When the skin is wet, it becomes more prone to pressure injuries. So if you experience urinary incontinence or struggle to regulate your body temperature, it can impact your skin.
Preventive Measures for Pressure Sores
There are some things everyone can do to keep their skin healthy when they’re at a higher risk of developing pressure sores. Some simple preventative measures include;
- Regular Movement – Shifting your weight and regularly changing positions can reduce pressure on sensitive areas of the body. Moving can give existing pressure sores a chance to breathe and heal too.
- Supportive Cushions – Specialised pressure relief cushions, like Treat-Eezi cushions, can help to distribute pressure evenly. They conform to the natural body contours, reducing friction and shearing.
- Skin Care – Keeping your skin clean and well moisturised can help to protect against breakdown. You should regularly inspect your skin for any signs of pressure ulcers too, so you can take quick action to prevent them from getting worse.
- Nutritional Support – Eating a healthy, balanced diet helps to support healthy skin and prevent damage. Making sure you get all of the nutrients you need can also support the healing of any existing pressure injuries.
Ordering Pressure Relief Cushions Online
Pressure sores can lead to serious health issues if left untreated and being aware of the areas most susceptible to these injuries can help you to protect your skin. If you are ever concerned about pressure sores, you shouldn’t hesitate to speak to a medical professional who can provide you with treatment advice.
When searching for pressure relief products that can help to keep your skin healthy, be sure to explore the Dan Medica South website. We stock a range of pressure relief cushions that can be used on top of foam-based chairs and mattresses, and they are extremely versatile. Our medical experts have created the first multi-weave pressure relief products that are capable of supporting the healing stages of all pressure sores. You can use our pressure relief cushions in confidence knowing they are incredibly effective.