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Living With a Spinal Cord Injury - Pressure Sores

Signs to look for

Watch for early signs of a pressure sore. These can include:

  • A new area of redness that doesn't go away within a few minutes of taking pressure off the area.
  • An area of skin that is warmer or cooler than the surrounding skin.
  • An area of skin that is firmer or softer than the skin around it.

Contact your doctor if you:

  • Think a pressure sore is starting and you aren't able to adjust your activities and positioning to protect the area.
  • Notice an increase in the size or drainage of the sore.
  • Notice increased redness around the sore or black areas starting to form.
  • Notice that the sore begins to smell bad and/or the drainage becomes a greenish color.
  • Have a fever.

Treating pressure sores

General treatment for pressure sores is to keep the area dry and clean, eat well, and reduce pressure. All pressure sores need to be treated early. If a sore progresses to stage 3 or 4 camera.gif, it is hard to treat and can lead to serious complications. Specific treatment depends on the stage of the pressure sore.

For more information on treatment, see the topic Pressure Sores: Prevention and Treatment.

Note: Pressure sores can trigger autonomic dysreflexia, which causes sudden very high blood pressure and headaches. If not treated promptly and correctly, it may lead to seizures, stroke, and even death. These complications are rare, but it is important to know the symptoms and watch for them.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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