Pressure ulcers present a significant economic, quality of life, and overall health care threat. Pressure ulcers were once a problem considered a side effect of aging has captured the attention of wound care surgeons. This is more commonly regarded as preventable and unacceptable as this is an indicator of the quality of life.
Pressure ulcers occur on any part of the body but are commonly seen over bony prominences, such as the occiput, sacrum, elbows, heels, hips, and the ischial tuberosities. One common pressure ulcer that occurs is on the feet; due to rubbing of shoes, although most people do not recognize this as a chronic non-healing wound.
Pressure damages are predominantly caused by prolonged and unrelieved pressure from any external object against the skin like a bed, mattress, chair, clothing, footwear, medical devices, etc. Using a special mattress, moving, and changing of positions may reduce or relieve pressure. An appropriate wound care dressing can also help heal the ulcer. Patients who are immobile or have difficulty responding independently to pressure, or those who have a neurological deficit and cannot feel the effects of pressure are at immediate risk of developing pressure ulcers.
Many factors affect an individual's likelihood of developing pressure ulcers; the more factors involved, the higher the risk, and the faster a pressure ulcer is likely to develop. Therefore, it is essential to seek an assessment from a wound care specialist to be able to identify all potential contributory factors so that an appropriate wound care treatment can be planned and implemented.