How do pressure ulcers develop?

The development of pressure ulcers is not fully clear. In fact, there are several theories about it. One of them is that the injury starts on skin surface and gradually penetrates deeper into the tissue (“downwards”). The other theory claims that pressure ulcers are developed in deeper tissues, spreading towards skin surface (“upwards”), in the case when muscle tissue is more sensitive than the skin to a reduced or blocked blood circulation.

There are numerous factors contributing to or being connected with the development of pressure ulcers, although the impact of such factors has not yet been fully researched.

Whether pressure ulcers will develop or not is determined by a combination of various risk factors, along with external pressure. The pressure required for the development of pressure ulcers depends partly on the pressure force and the duration of the period during which tissue was exposed to such pressure. Sensitivity to pressure varies from person to person, depending also on various tissue types.

Pressure ulcers may develop on any part of the body. The risk of their development is higher on those body parts which lack fat content between the bones and the skin. Continuous pressure in direct contact with the base causes closures of capillaries and tissue necrosis. Pressure ulcers may develop within two hours.

The development of pressure ulcers is like a volcanic eruption.