Bedsores are also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers . Bedsores are injuries to skin and underlying tissues resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin. Bedsores generally develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body, such as heels, ankles, hips or buttocks.
Most people at risk of bedsores are those with a medical condition, that limits their ability to change position, requires them to use a wheelchair or confines them to bed for prolonged periods.
Bedsores can develop quickly and are often difficult to treat. Several care strategies can help prevent some bedsores and promote healing.
If one is bedridden or wheelchair, observe for signs of bedsores. The severity of skin breakdown may be categorized as follows:
Stage 1: Abnormal redness of skin. Skin is intact. This stage is reversible.
Stage 2: The redness progresses to an abrasion, blister, or shallow crater. This stage is also reversible.
Stage 3: A crater-like sore or ulcer that has begun to extend beneath the skin. This stage may be life-threatening.
Stage 4: Skin loss with extensive destruction or damage to muscle, bone, or supporting structures such as tendons or joint capsules. This stage may be fatal.
The treatment of bedsores depends on the severity (i.e. the stage) of the wound. Depending on the severity, a variety of approaches may be used to promote healing. They include synthetic dressings, saline dressings, acetic acid compresses, and various antibiotic dressings (bedsores are particularly prone to infection).
For more severe wounds, surgery may be necessary to remove areas of dead skin. The most important step in both treatment and prevention of bedsores is relieving pressure by frequent repositioning.