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What is a Pressure Ulcer?



An area of the skin where sores occur because of repeated pressure being applied to it. The pressure against the skin decreases blood supply to that part of your body and the affected tissue is destroyed. This may happen because you stay in one position too long without movement. You are at risk for pressure ulcers if:
  1. You are unable to move certain parts of your body without assistance.
  2. You are in a wheelchair.
  3. You are confined to a bed.
  4. You have fragile skin.
  5. You are older.
  6. You do not get enough nutrition.

How do pressure ulcers happen?

Friction or constant rubbing against the bottom of your foot causes the skin in that area to increase, creating a callus. If the skin continues to thicken, the callus pushes up into the foot. This destroys the healthy tissue and creates discomfort. As the good tissue is killed, an ulcer forms. The ulcer may become a hot spot or blister. The blister can turn into an open sore or a corn (thickened skin on the foot). The open sore may get infected if bacteria enters into the wound. The infection will cause more healthy tissue to get destroyed. The infected ulcer may begin to weep with a white, yellow or green discharge. Some ulcers may have an odor or bleed. If you have any of these symptoms call your podiatrist right away.

Physical Exam

Your podiatrist will ask you questions about your general well-being. Do you have circulation problems, are you diabetic, do you have problems with your kidneys. Have you seen any changes in your feet. Your podiatrist will examine your feet for abnormalities such as calluses or blisters as well as any bone or skin differences. Your podiatrist will also check for sensitivity in your feet.

Testing

If you are a diabetic your blood circulation and nerve sensitivity will be tested. If you already have an ulcer that is prominent, x-rays will be used to see if you have an infection in the bone.
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