Tips to Prevent Skin Sores

Published: June 3, 2006
106

DO

  • Make sure your wheelchair foot pedals are adjusted to the right height.
  • Use a prescribed cushion on wheelchair seat.
  • Sit up straight in wheelchair (slumping or slouching leads quickly to early Skin Breakdown over tailbone).
  • Check feet carefully when wearing new shoes – shoes should not be too tight or too large.
  • Apply support hose and Ace wrap evenly so that they don’t wrinkle and cause extra pressure.
  • Keep skin clean and dry – urine allowed to stay on the skin can lead to problems.
  • Use a firm (not hard) mattress, which provides support for your body. Foam mattress over regular mattress helps to spread weight a little more evenly.
  • Lie Prone to keep hips stretched out. Also, this position spreads pressure more evenly and there is less chance to get sores.
  • Do your wheelchair push-ups or weight shifts every 15 minutes.
  • Stick to your turning schedule.
  • Use lubricating cream if you have dry skin.
  • Remember: even tiny shifts of position help somewhat.

DO NOT

  • Use a rubber air ring or any kind of doughnut – they create a lot of pressure where you don’t want it, and block the flow of blood to skin inside the ring.
  • Wear sanitary belts – they can lead to pressure sores.
  • Wear clothing with heavy seams, nylon underwear or tight clothing.
  • Put articles in pants pockets or on seat of wheelchair.
  • Use alcohol on dry skin.
  • Sit in bed with the head raised for long periods – this causes skin to be squeezed over the lower end of the spine and can lead to sores.

------------------------

PoinTIS Copyright © 1998 the Louis Calder Memorial Library of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, all rights reserved.