Bed Sores: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatments

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When an area of the skin is under pressure for a very long duration, it can develop pressure ulcers that are usually called Bed Sores. This can usually be seen with people who are bedridden due to health issues. It can develop on any area of the skin and is usually seen on the hips and the tailbone along with ankles. It can be painful and cause a lot of discomfort. In some cases, it can even create other health complications when treatment is not provided at the right time. However, in most cases, it can easily be treated and you will not have any problems with them. Only in rare cases, they do come back and you need to take preventive measures to avoid them in the future.

Symptoms of Bed Sores:

–  It can usually cause swelling and you will be able to notice this clearly in the affected area. If this condition happens when you are not physically active, you need to approach your doctor as this can easily develop into a full-grown ulcer that will trouble you in the future.

–  The colour of the skin changes due to the pressure and even the texture will also see some differences from the nearby areas. You should not neglect such changes in your body and always approach a doctor as soon as you notice such symptoms.

–  When the ulcer has fully developed, it will even have pus formation and it can drain sometimes causing a lot of discomforts. In some cases, it can even be painful and you will be able to feel the bed sores even without touching them.

–  The unusual thing about the bed sores is that they will have a slightly different temperature when compared to the rest of your body. You can clearly notice this when you touch the ulcer and it either feels warmer than the other regions or cooler than the other skin surface of your body.

–  In the initial stages, the bed sores will look like a small injury on the skin surface and you will notice other symptoms in the affected area. However, when it reaches the advanced stages, you may even see the injury spreading to the muscle and bone areas inside the body.

Causes of Bed Sores:

–  The main cause of bedsores is pressure on the skin. This usually happens when the body does not move too often. It drastically reduces the flow of blood to the affected area and the tissues in that region can get permanently damaged due to this pressure. It will not be able to sustain the pressure and this condition usually leads to pressure ulcers in that region. You can usually find this kind of bed sores with people who are bedridden and with people who do not have complete mobility due to various reasons.

–  Yet another cause is attributed to friction and this can happen due to constant rubbing of the body part against the bedding. If the area is moist, the chances of getting bed sores increase a lot, and this damages the skin more than anything else and leads to pressure ulcers.

–  In rare cases, this can also happen due to internal infection and when constant pressure is put on the affected region, it can lead to ulcers in no time. You should be careful about the initial symptoms and try to get good treatment at this stage as treating advanced ulcers will be very difficult and you will have to undergo a lot of discomfort in the long run.

–  Apart from that, poor blood circulation to any part of the body due to various reasons can also lead to this condition. When your body lacks the necessary proteins and vitamins, the skin tissues will not be able to take the damage and they develop pressure ulcers in a quick time.

–  In a few people, conditions like diabetes and other vascular diseases can also trigger pressure ulcers when there is a lack of blood flow to the affected region.

–  It is also common among aged patients when they are not able to move the body for a very long time. The skin will get thinner with age and this also contributes towards developing pressure ulcers in the future.

Diagnosis of Bed Sores:

The diagnosis of bed sores begins with a physical examination and your doctor will try to assign the right stage to the condition. This will help them to provide treatment based on the level of the ulcers. Remember that treating initial stage ulcers requires very little effort and you can easily get relief in a quick time. When it reaches advanced stages, even surgery may be needed to treat the condition. When you go for a diagnosis, your doctor will watch out for the symptoms and see if it needs further investigation. In some cases, you may be asked to go for a blood test to see if there is any other infection within your body that is triggering this condition. In rare cases, a biopsy of the affected area is performed to rule out the chances of cancer.

Prevention of Bed Sores:

–  There are many things you can do to prevent bedsores and keeping your skin in healthy condition is one of them. To begin with, you need to keep your skin clean and wash them regularly. It is also a good idea to reduce exposure to moisture as this can cause pressure ulcers when you do not move your body for very long hours.

–  Other than that, you should also ensure that urine and stool do not come into contact with your skin surface and clean your skin after using the toilet. This can cause infection and trigger pressure ulcers at a later stage.

–  You can use some lotions and powder to keep your skin from damage while sleeping and it is a good idea to change the bedding on a frequent basis. Whenever you notice any pressure sore on your skin, try to see if anything is causing that pressure and avoid such things while sleeping.

–  Do not elevate your bed too much as this can result in shearing in some cases. When the body slides at a later stage when you are in deep sleep, this can rub your skin the wrong way and cause pressure ulcers.

–  It is also important to choose a good mattress that will be comfortable for you to use for long hours. Make sure that they do not put pressure, especially on the bony areas and this will help you to prevent pressure ulcers in that area.

–  If you are using a wheelchair for long hours, try to choose the ones that allow you to change your position by slightly tilting the seat. This will help you to relieve the pressure and you will get relief from pressure ulcers.

–  If you are bedridden, make sure that you try to shift your position either by yourself or with the help of others on a frequent basis. This will ensure that pressure is not applied to only a few areas for a very long duration and you will be able to have good blood circulation throughout your body.

Treatment for Bed Sores:

–  The first step in treating bedsores begin with reducing the pressure from the affected area. This ensures that further damage is not caused and the ulcers can be treated for the wounds. This includes reducing the pain so that the patient will get immediate relief from the symptoms.

–  Once this is accomplished, the next step is to prevent infection as this can affect the bones and joints in advanced stages. After this is done, further steps can be taken to prevent pressure ulcers in the future.

–  The best way to reduce pressure is to bring about a change in the position of the body. Especially when you sleep, you may not be moving your body and this can lead to pressure ulcers. The same thing can happen when you are sitting for long hours in a wheelchair. In this situation, you can change your position once in a while and avoid constant pressure on the affected area.

–  It is also a good idea to use a mattress and cushions that will relieve the pressure on the affected area. This can be used even while sleeping or when you are sitting in a wheelchair. Use a soft cushion that will reduce the pressure and you can easily get relief from bed sores in this manner.

–  The next step is to clean the open sores so that they do not cause any infection in other healthy skin tissues in the nearby area. After this is done, the open sores as covered with a bandage and this will keep your skin safe from infection. Make sure that you get the dressing changed regularly as this is important to maintain hygiene in the affected area.

–  Apart from the regular treatment, even medication will be used to control the pain and fight infection. Remember that the infection can spread inside the body if it is not treated for a long duration and you need to use proper medication to treat the infection. Painkillers are prescribed only to reduce the pain on a temporary basis depending on the overall health condition of the patient.

–  In some cases, a vacuum device may be used to remove the wound completely from the skin surface. If everything else fails, surgery may be the last option to remove the ulcer from the body. This is adopted when the infection has spread to the muscles and bone region.


–  When treatment is not provided at the right time, it can even lead to various complications in the future. Some of them can even become life-threatening and lead to cancer.

–  The major complication of this condition is cellulitis which causes infection on the skin surface. You can notice a red sore that is usually swelling when you are affected by this condition. In some cases, there may be no pain in the region and this will usually be due to nerve damage in the affected area. For this reason, you need to watch out for the symptoms carefully and get the treatment at the right time.

–  In extreme conditions when the ulcer is in an advanced stage, it can even affect the bones and joints due to infection. When the joint tissues get affected due to the infection, it can lead to septic arthritis and this can damage the joints at a later stage. In the same manner, it can even reach the bone region and reduce the strength of the bones in a huge manner. This is a serious situation and if you neglect this issue at this stage, you may have to suffer a lot in the long run due to weak bones and joints in the affected area.

–  In rare cases, this can also lead to sepsis which can drastically attack the immune system and lead to various complications. You should be very careful about this aspect and approach your doctor as soon as you see early symptoms of pressure ulcers.

–  When you notice that the wounds are coming back frequently, you need to be worried as this can lead to cancer in some cases. However, it is a rare thing and you need to understand that any infection or open sore that does not heal will have its own set of risks, and getting cancer is also one of them.


When you notice any uneven skin tone on your skin surface, you should immediately check if any pressure is being felt in that area for a prolonged duration due to your sitting or sleeping position. If this is the case, you should never neglect the problem and immediately approach your doctor to get suitable treatment. Always remember that treating pressure ulcers is very easy when it is still in the early stages. You should also be aware of the preventive measures that need to be taken when you are not able to move your body for long hours due to some health condition. By making suitable changes to your lifestyle and diet, you will be able to avoid bed sores in the future.


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