Pressure Injuries for Individuals With Paralysis

person in wheelchair

Individuals with lower limb paralysis or those who spend long periods of time in wheelchairs are at a higher risk of developing pressure injuries or ulcers. Learn more on what causes these injuries and how to help prevent them. 

What Causes Pressure Injuries?

According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the Mayo Clinic, pressure injuries are injuries to skin and underlying tissue caused by prolonged pressure. There are a number of ways this can occur:

  • Staying in one position for an extended period of time
  • A brace or hard object applying pressure on the skin for an extended period of time
  • Applying an increased amount of pressure to an area for an extended period of time
  • Sliding or pulling the skin across a surface instead of having it lifted 

Pressure Injury Prevention

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation provide tips on how to maintain healthy skin:

  • Check skin daily: Use a mirror for hard-to-see areas. Skin stays healthy with a good diet, good hygiene and regular pressure relief. 
  • Keep the skin clean and dry: Skin that is moist from sweat or bodily discharges is more likely to develop an injury.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: A healing wound or sore can lose more than a quart of water each day. Typically, you should drink 8 to 12 cups of water a day. However, always be sure to confirm what is best for you with your doctor.
  • Watch body weight: Being too thin can allow for small amounts of pressure to break down the skin. Meanwhile, being overweight can put more pressure on the skin increasing the likelihood of breakdown. Try to maintain a healthy diet and consult your doctor for best practices. 

For more information, visit our blog on Avoiding Pressure Injuries (Sores).

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.