Skin Care What is a pressure sore? A pressure sore is any redness or break in the skin caused by too much pressure on your skin for a prolonged period of time. The pressure prevents blood from getting to your skin so the skin dies. The first sign of a pressure sore is usually a red or pink mark on the skin. Other types of pressure and forces that cause skin breakdown are: Impact pressure – when great pressure occurs for a short time such as when you fall or the rocking or bouncing movement of a car. Friction – when two surfaces move against and across each other. For example, if a spasm causes your heel to move against the bottom sheet when lying in bed. Shearing – when gravity and friction occur together and the underlying tissues are stretched and pulled in the opposite direction to the skin. How can I minimise the risk of developing a skin problem? • Check your skin regularly – at least twice a day • Keep your skin dry and clean – especially after showers, swimming and as soon as possible if any bowel or bladder accidents occur. • Maintain a good posture. Sitting with your bottom back as far as it will go on the seat, with your spine reasonably straight, allows the pressure to be more evenly distributed. • Relieve pressure as often as you can. • Take care not to damage your skin when moving around or transferring. • Check your clothing doesn’t create pressure by tightness, wrinkles, heavy seams, studs etc. • Ensure shoes fit by having adequate toe depth and ample width and length. • Be aware of heat sources that can come into contact with your desensitized skin.
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