What is a pressure ulcer and how is it caused?

A pressure ulcer is an injury to the skin and the tissue below it. It forms when the skin is pressed against a bone. It’s caused by pressure, rubbing or friction. Pressure ulcers happen when a person sits or lies down for a long time without moving. They can cause pain and scarring. They might drain a little or a lot and can get in the way of daily living. A pressure ulcer can also cause a person to stay in the hospital.

Where can pressure ulcers form?

Pressure ulcers can form all over the body. They are often found on the following locations of the body:

  • Back
  • Hipbone
  • Heels
  • Behind the knees and ankles for those in wheelchairs
  • Shoulder blades
  • Elbows
  • Back of the head
  • Spine

How can I prevent pressure ulcers?

  • Practice good nutrition
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Keep your ulcer clean from urine and stool
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions

Contact your healthcare provider if you see any of the following:

  • An increase in redness
  • Drainage that smells bad or begins to change color
  • Swelling
  • A temperature over 101 F
  • A new wound

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