Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Pressure Sores - Treatment Overview


Protect healthy skin

In addition to avoiding pressure, take steps to protect healthy skin.

  • Bathe as often as needed to be clean and comfortable.
  • Use gentle soap to bathe, and use warm (not hot) water.
  • Use moisturizing creams or lotions to keep skin soft and keep it from getting dry.
  • Check your skin every day for signs of pressure sores. Look closely for changes in color or for sores. Pay special attention to the common areas where pressure sores developcamera.gif, such as over the tailbone and heels.
  • If you have problems with bowel or bladder control:
    • Clean your skin right away if it becomes soiled or wet.
    • Use a protective barrier cream, lotion, or ointment to protect your skin from wetness.
    • Use pads or briefs that absorb moisture and pull it away from your skin.

Eat a healthy diet

Good nutrition is important to both preventing and treating pressure sores. Focus on getting enough liquids, calories, protein, and vitamins, and on controlling your weight. Both increases and decreases in body weight can help cause pressure sores. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about a healthy diet for you.

Treat infection as needed

Open sores, such as pressure sores, are easy places for infections to start. Your doctor will be watching for signs of infection, and you can help watch for these signs. Tell your doctor if you notice:

  • Redness or warmth in the skin around the sore, or red streaks leading away from the sore area.
  • Tenderness around the sore.
  • Pus in the drainage from the sore.
  • A bad smell from the sore or from the bandage.
  • Fever.

To treat an infection, you may use medicine, such as antibiotics, along with special care of the wound. You and the people around you will also be taught to take steps to keep germs from spreading to other parts of your body or to other people. These steps include keeping the sore covered at all times except during treatment, good hand-washing before and after caring for the pressure sore, and properly wrapping and throwing away used bandages.

Treat pain as needed

Pain may or may not be a problem with pressure sores. If you do have pain, talk to your doctor. Some people who have pressure sores do not need any pain medicine, some need pain medicine just when the sore is being treated, and some need pain control medicine on a regular schedule.

1 | 2 | 3
1 | 2 | 3

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 22, 2013
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.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
itchy skin
shingles rash on skin
woman with skin tag
Woman washing face
woman washing her hair in sink
close up of womans bare neck
woman with face cream