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Pressure ulcers are often problems for spinal cord injury victims

Spinal cord injuries are very serious injuries. When people hear about someone who has suffered a serious spinal cord injury, their focus might automatically go to the physical difficulties like paralysis that the person might be going through. Other problems are also possible, such as skin problems. One skin issue that might occur is a pressure ulcer.

For people with paralysis, even partial paralysis, pressure ulcers are especially troublesome because of the limited mobility. People who are totally paralyzed must depend on other people to turn them and move them around so they don't suffer from a pressure ulcer. Even these movements can lead to skin issues since the skin might slide on the bedding or another surface. Assistive items, such as braces, can rub against the skin to cause pressure ulcers.

Pressure ulcers are progressive. If the condition that caused the pressure ulcer isn't remedied, the condition will continue to deteriorate. In the first stage of the pressure ulcer, a scab or blister forms. The next stage occurs when the actual ulcer forms. The pressure ulcer can look small on the top layer of the skin, but might extend all the way to the bone.

Anyone who is caring for a spinal cord injury patient should be vigilant about watching for signs of pressure ulcers since prevention is the best defense against skin ulcers. Skin discoloration is one of the primary signs.

In some cases, special equipment is necessary to help prevent pressure ulcers in spinal cord injury patients. As you can imagine, that equipment is likely to be expensive. Seeking compensation for the spinal cord injury might make it possible to obtain the equipment necessary to properly care for the spinal cord injury victim.

Source: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, "Skin Care," accessed Oct. 12, 2015

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