About This Condition
Skin ulcers are open sores that are often accompanied by the sloughing-off of inflamed tissue.
Skin ulcers can be caused by a variety of events, such as trauma, exposure to heat or cold, problems with blood circulation, or irritation from exposure to corrosive material. Pressure ulcers, also known as decubitus ulcers or bedsores, are skin ulcers that develop on areas of the body where the blood supply has been reduced because of prolonged pressure; these may occur in people confined to bed or a chair, or in those who must wear a hard brace or plaster cast. Skin ulcers may become infected, with serious health consequences. Other health conditions that can cause skin ulcers include mouth ulcers (canker sores), chronic venous insufficiency, diabetes, infection, and peripheral vascular disease.
People with a skin ulcer may have an area of reddened skin. In advanced cases, people may have areas where the skin is open and oozing fluid.
Healthcare providers recommend shifting position at least every two hours to avoid sustained pressure on the same area of the body. Some people might benefit from special mattresses or supports. For skin ulcers in general, wound dressings need to be changed frequently. Severe cases might require surgery to remove diseased tissue and to repair the wound.