• Ulcers are injuries to skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin. It most often develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body, such as the heels, ankles, hips and tailbone.

    People most at risk are those with a medical condition that limits their ability to change positions or those who spend most of their time in a bed or chair.

  • Warning signs of pressure ulcers are:

    • Unusual changes in skin color or texture
    • Swelling
    • Pus-like draining
    • An area of skin that feels cooler or warmer to the touch than other areas
    • Tender areas

    They fall into one of several stages based on their depth, severity and other characteristics. The degree of skin and tissue damage ranges from red, unbroken skin to a deep injury involving muscle and bone.

  • Three primary contributing factors for bedsores are:

    • Pressure. Constant pressure on any part of your body can lessen the blood flow to tissues. Blood flow is essential to delivering oxygen and other nutrients to tissues. Without these essential nutrients, skin and nearby tissues are damaged and might eventually die.For people with limited mobility, this kind of pressure tends to happen in areas that aren’t well-padded with muscle or fat and that lie over a bone, such as the spine, tailbone, shoulder blades, hips, heels and elbows.
    • Friction. Friction occurs when the skin rubs against clothing or bedding. It can make fragile skin more vulnerable to injury, especially if the skin is also moist.
    • Shear. Shear occurs when two surfaces move in the opposite direction. For example, when a bed is elevated at the head, you can slide down in bed. As the tailbone moves down, the skin over the bone might stay in place — essentially pulling in the opposite direction.
  • If you notice warning signs of an ulcer on your feet contact your podiatrist. Seek immediate medical care if you show signs of infection, such as a fever, drainage from a sore, a sore that smells bad, or increased redness, warmth or swelling around a sore.

  • Care for pressure ulcers depends on how deep the wound is. Generally, cleaning and dressing a wound includes the following:

    • Cleaning. If the affected skin is not broken, wash it with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. Clean open sores with water or a saltwater (saline) solution each time the dressing is changed.
    • Putting on a bandage. A bandage speeds healing by keeping the wound moist. This creates a barrier against infection and keeps the surrounding skin dry. Bandage choices include films, gauzes, gels, foams and treated coverings. You may need a combination of dressings.
    • Pressure redistribution. If too much pressure is on an area it will prevent the blood from circulating. This will prevent healing.
    • Custom orthotics. Orthotics can help with pressure redistribution and help prevent blood from being cut off to woads. The can also help prevent ulceration.
    • Debridement. Sometimes the dead skin needs to be derided to allow the healthy skin to grow

    To heal properly, wounds need to be free of damaged, dead or infected tissue. Removing this tissue (debridement) is accomplished with a number of methods, such as gently flushing the wound with water or cutting out damaged tissue.

  • Call us to find out whether your ulcer and wound care treatment is covered by your private health care provider. There are a few things to consider with your private health fund such as your level of cover, your policy waiting periods, annual limits and fund rules. It is important to know what you are up for prior to your visits to avoid unwanted, expensive surprises.