WHAT IS A PRESSURE INJURY?
A pressure wound, also known as a bed sore, pressure ulcer, or pressure sore, is an injury to the skin and underlying tissues. The wound results from extended pressure on the area, which inhibits blood and oxygen flow to the skin’s cells. Pressure injuries can develop quickly, and often occur when a person has been confined to a bed, wheelchair, or other immobile position causing pressure on the skin for an extended period of time. These kinds of sores may go away with conservative treatments, but sometimes require advanced bed sores treatment from a wound care facility, such as the wound center at Princeton Wound Care.
WHERE DO PRESSURE INJURIES COMMONLY OCCUR?
Often, pressure wounds develop on skin that covers a bone, including:
- Inner Knees
- Back of the head / ears
- Lower back / buttocks
WHAT CAUSES A PRESSURE INJURY/WOUND?
A pressure wound is usually the result of pressure in an area of the skin, which causes tissue damage when sustained over a long period of time. Some of the situations which may result in a pressure injury include:
- Long-term wheelchair use
- Sickness that requires bed rest
- Prolonged hospital bed use
- Movement causing friction, such as from a caregiver
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A PRESSURE INJURY?
Pressure injuries are generally sorted into different stages of severity. The earlier you seek medical help for your pressure wound, the better your chances are of improving your condition quickly and without complications. If you are suffering from any of the following pressure wound symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor or a wound care specialist at Princeton Wound Care Center:
STAGE 1 PRESSURE INJURY SYMPTOMS
- Warmer / cooler in temperature
STAGE 2 PRESSURE INJURY SYMPTOMS
- Loss of outer layer of skin
- Blister-like appearance
STAGE 3 PRESSURE INJURY SYMPTOMS
- Crater-like ulcer
- Loss of multiple layers of skin
- May have yellow spots
STAGE 4 PRESSURE INJURY SYMPTOMS
- Exposed fat, muscles, or tendons
- Yellow, black, or brown spots
- DEEP TISSUE PRESSURE INJURY SYMPTOMS
- No skin breakage
- Blood-blister appearance
- Tenderness or soreness
- Maroon or purple
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR A PRESSURE INJURY?
You may have a higher likelihood for developing a pressure wound if you have a medical condition that restricts your mobility, requiring you to sit or lie for extended time frames. Other factors that may increase the risk for developing pressure wounds include the following:
- Weight loss can reduce muscle and fat, removing cushioning between the skin and bones.
Excess moisture or dryness can increase friction between bedding and skin.
- Aging can reduce the skin’s elasticity and moisture, increase susceptibility to wounds, and inhibit the ability to heal.
- Medical conditions can sometimes limit the blood flow through the body and increase chances of tissue damage.
- Smoking may reduce blood flow and oxygen and lower the body’s ability to heal.
- Poor nutrition may cause tissue breakdown and damage.
WHAT ARE SOME PRESSURE INJURY TREATMENT OPTIONS?
The following options may be recommended for pressure sore treatment at Princeton Wound Care Center:
- Getting a vascular lab workup
- Cleaning and dressing wounds properly
- Taking pain medication
- Using support surfaces, like special bedding or cushions
- Repositioning and shifting weight periodically
When the above conservative options fail or the wound becomes infected or more severe, the following advanced treatment options may be recommended:
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)
- Skin grafting
If you’re suffering from a pressure injury, it is important to consult with a wound care specialist at Princeton Wound Care Center in New Jersey. Our state-of-the-art facility, complete with hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers, is home to experienced physicians who are experts in complex and chronic wound care.