Each year more than 2.5 million people in the United States develop pressure ulcers.
Pressure ulcers, also known as decubitus ulcers or bedsores, are skin injuries usually over a bony area due to high pressures. They most commonly occur around the glutes, hips or heels but affect other areas such as the elbows, knees, ankles or the back of the head.
High skin interface pressure is one of the main causes of pressure ulcers. High pressure on tissue at a bony area restricts blood flow to that area that may lead to the ‘death’ of the tissue.
Stages of Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers are classified into four stages depending on their severity or progression.
Stage I: Skin redness, usually over a bony area, that stays red, even after touched.
Stage II: Some skin loss. Looks like a start of a shallow, red or pink wound.
Stage III: Tissue loss. Open wound where fat may be visible but no bone or muscle is seen.
Stage IV: Tissue loss. Open wound with visible bone or muscle.