Pressure Ulcers: Causes, Stages & Treatment

Pressure Ulcers, also known as Bedsores, usually form when anyone sits or lays down in one position for too long. It frequently develops on skin that covers skeletal areas of the body, such as the heels, ankles, hips, and tailbone.


Pressure Ulcers are common among older people, who spend long periods in bed or wheelchair, have delicate skin, or with decreased mobility. The condition is treatable, but chronic pressure ulcers can be challenging to treat. The specific outlook depends on several factors, including underlying medical conditions and the ulcer stage.

The Stages of Pressure Ulcers:

The stages are classified on how deep the Pressure ulcers are, and if found early, there’s a good chance these will heal in a few days, with little pain. Without treatment, they can get worse.

Stage 1:

The first stage is the mildest one. Pressure ulcers affect only the upper layer of the skin. The skin is intact, and one may notice a red area and check by pressing the area for a few minutes to see if any skin color changes. This is due to less blood flow to the area.

If you sit for a long time or sleep a lot, try to move at least once every 2 hours. A Stage 1 Pressure ulcer may get cured within 2 or 3 days. If it doesn’t, consult a doctor.

Stage 2:

In Stage two, Pressure ulcers are diagnosed when intact skin suddenly breaks open, exposing the epidermis; it looks like a pus-filled blister. The Pressure ulcer may ooze clear fluid or pus, and it’s painful.

The Pressure ulcer should be cleaned with water or a salt-water solution and dry it gently. A Stage two pressure sore should get better in 3 days to 3 weeks.

Stage 3:

In Stage Three, a Pressure ulcer is much deeper within the skin. It affects the fat layer and looks like a crater. This stage may show signs of infection like red edges, pus, odor, heat, and drainage.

Stage three pressure ulcers will need more care and will take at least one month, or up to 4 months, to heal.

Stage 4:

The skin layers in Stage four are most affected, including muscle and bone. These Pressure ulcers are the most serious. The skin may turn black and shows signs of infection like red edges, pus, odor, heat, and drainage.

A Stage four wound healing could take anywhere from 3 months or much longer, even years, to heal.

How to treat Pressure Ulcer?

When Pressure ulcers are in the early stages, people may be able to treat them at home. Frequently changing positions can help the ulcers heal and keep new ones from forming.

Pressure ulcers can be prevented by periodically repositioning yourself to avoid stress on the skin. Other strategies include taking good care of the skin, maintaining good nutrition and fluid intake, quitting smoking, managing stress, and exercising daily.

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Juwariah Khan

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