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What is a Pressure Sore?

A pressure sore, more properly known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are lesions caused by many factors such as: unrelieved pressure; friction; humidity; shearing forces; temperature; age; continence and medication; to any part of the body, especially portions over bony or cartilaginous areas such as sacrum, elbows, knees, ankles etc. (definition taken from Wikipedia).

Stages of Pressure Sores

Pressure sores are categorized by severity, from Stage 1 (earliest signs) to Stage IV (worst):

  • Stage I: A reddened area on the skin that, when pressed, is "nonblanchable" (does not turn white). This indicates that a pressure ulcer is starting to develop.
  • Stage II: The skin blisters or forms an open sore. The area around the sore may be red and irritated.
  • Stage III: The skin breakdown now looks like a crater where there is damage to the tissue below the skin.
  • Stage IV: The pressure ulcer has become so deep that there is damage to the muscle and bone, and sometimes tendons and joints.

    Taken from : http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007071.htm

    Risk Factors

    Your clients have increased risk factors for developing pressure sores if for example they are on bedrest, using a wheelchair full time, have fragile skin, have a chronic condition such as diabetis which prevents areas of the body from getting proper blood flow, if they are malnourished or have urinary or bowel incontinence. There are many other factors that can increase your client's risk of pressure sores. These may include how your client transfers for example - if they constantly rub their buttocks on the wheel of their wheelchair their skin can breakdown. As another example if they are in bed with the head of the bed elevated past 30 degrees shearing can/will occur and they may get sores around their coccyx (or tailbone). If they cannot move themselves at night and do not have a suitable sleep surface they are also at risk for pressure sores.

    How can Therapy First help?

    The therapists at Therapy First can help to assess all areas of your client's lives in order to identify where their skin may be at risk.

    Throughout our therapeutic relationship with the client, we will analyze their equipment, sitting and lying surfaces and lifestyle and intervene accordingly to help prevent pressure sores from occurring.

    What if my client has a pressure sore already?

    In the event that your client has a pressure sore, our therapists can help by doing an assessment of what may have caused the sore. The sore could be due to pressure resulting from a wheelchair cushion, a mattress, a commode or toilet seat, a bath seat, a vehicle seat, shearing caused by transfers, a fall, a crinkle in clothing, excess moisture on already fragile skin, poor nutrition or a multitude of other factors. Once the cause is determined we can find a solution! We will make sure all aspects of pressure sore prevention and treatment are considered. Sometimes this can be as simple as recommending a referral to a dietician to ensure that nutritional intake is appropriate for wound healing.

    What is a pressure sore?


    The cost of pressure sores

  • For more information or to book an appointment contact us by phone at 204-612-0399 or by email at ot@therapyfirst.ca