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Advanced Medical Group
450 Old Peachtree Road, N.W.
Suite 102
Suwanee, GA 30024-7289

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Advanced Care Program: Paralysis

Recognizing and Preventing Pressure Sores

A pressure sore is any redness or break in the skin caused by too much pressure on your skin for too long a period of time. The pressure prevents blood from getting to your skin causing the skin to die. Pressure sores can develop when you sit or lie in one position for too long.

There are four stages of pressure sores:
  • Stage one: Skin is not broken, but is red or discolored
  • Stage two: The top layer of skin (epidermis) is broken, creating a shallow open sore
  • Stage three: The break in the skin extends through the top layer of skin into the fat tissue below
  • Stage four: The breakdown extends into muscle and possibly to the bone
To help prevent pressure sores:
  • Always use your wheelchair cushion (ensure it is well-maintained)
  • Avoid bumping into things when transferring
  • Avoid excessive exposure to the sun - use an effective sunscreen
  • Avoid excessive temperatures, hot or cold
  • Avoid tight fitting clothes, tight shoes or socks that bind (clip top of socks)
  • Change clothing as soon as they become wet or soiled
  • Change your body position often enough to relieve pressure over bony parts of the body
  • Check your body position for correct alignment and pressure-free positions of bony areas
  • Check your skin completely twice a day, feel over boney areas for lumpy changes
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and maintain adequate fluid intake
  • Elevate hands, legs, and feet frequently if you notice any swelling
  • In bed, use pillows to pad body parts to keep bony areas free of pressure
  • Keep the skin clean and dry - avoid contact with urine and feces
  • Maintain proper nail care
  • Stop smoking
  • Wash new clothing before wearing it
  • Watch your weight

Pressure sores can be life threatening. They can lead to infection. If you see any sign of a pressure sore, consult with your physician.

Paralysis Topics

Recognizing and Preventing Autonomic Dysreflexia
Recognizing and Preventing Pressure Sores
Recognizing and Preventing Urinary Tract Infections
Skin Care
Osteoporosis and Fractures
Bowel Management
Respiratory Complications
Smoking and Paralysis
Male Sexuality
The Importance of Range of Motion Exercises
Female Sexuality
Nutrition & Spinal Cord Injury
Wheelchair Cushion Maintenance
Latex Allergies

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