Pressure Sores | Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of a pressure sore?

There are 4 stages of pressure sores. Symptoms at each stage include the following:

Stage 1. The affected skin looks red and may feel warm to the touch. The area may also burn, hurt or itch. In people who have dark skin, the pressure sore may have a blue or purple tint.

Stage 2. The affected skin is more damaged in a stage 2 pressure sore, which can result in an open sore that looks like an abrasion or a blister. The skin around the wound may discolored. The area is very painful.

Stage 3. These types of pressure sores usually have a crater-like appearance due to increased damage to the tissue below the skin's surface. This makes the wound deeper.

Stage 4. This is most serious type of pressure sore. The skin and tissue is severely damaged, causing a large wound. Infection can occur at this stage. Muscles, bones, tendons and joints can be affected by stage 4 pressure sores.

Where on the body can you get pressure sores?

Pressure sores usually develop over bony parts of the body that don't have much fat to pad them. Pressure sores are most common on the heels and on the hips. Other areas at risk for pressure sores include the base of the spine (tail bone), the shoulder blades, the backs and sides of the knees, and the back of the head.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 01/12
Created: 09/00

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