What is a pressure sore?

Impaired sensation can make it difficult to recognize warning signs such as pain and discomfort on areas of the skin that have pressure applied.  When such pressure is applied in a single spot for too long, blood flow is disrupted and tissue is damaged. These areas often include bony prominences such as the heel, the coccyx, and ischial tuberosities (the "sit bones").  If not addressed, a pressure sore can develop into a wound and can kill tissue, eventually exposing muscle, tendons, and bone.



Pressure sore prevention requires education and vigilance, involving regular examinations of skin on areas that receive pressure.  It also requires a routine habit of doing pressure releases (or shifts) to relieve pressure on affected areas.  Current standards of care for wheelchair-bound individuals suggest pressure relief be performed by leaning forward, from side-to-side, or lifting up, every 15 to 30 minutes for 30 to 120 seconds.