Harvard Health Letter

Preventing bedsores

They can be painful and deadly. The good news is that a few simple steps can keep many bedsores from reaching that stage.

Most of us don't realize how much we move around when we're sleeping. Complaining bed partners may not understand, but it's a good thing we toss and turn. That movement continually redistributes the pressure between our bodies and the mattress.

But when we're confined to bed because of illness or an injury, or under anesthesia for an operation, we may move very little, if at all. As a result, pressure builds up on specific areas of the body, particularly those where the bones are prominent — for example, the lower part of your back near the buttocks and your heels if you're lying on your back or, if you're on your side, your hip and ankle. When we do move, or are moved incorrectly, friction may add to the problem of pressure.

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