Bedsores are also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers. They form when your bone squeezes your skin and tissue against an outside surface, usually on weight-bearing parts of your body where the bones are near the skin. Bedsores usually develop below your waist if you are bedridden, although they can occur almost anywhere on your body. Common sites are the hips, shoulder blades, elbows, base of the spine, knees, ankles, heels, and even between fingers and toes.
Bedsores can develop in some people with just a few hours of constant pressure and range from mild reddening to severe craters that extend into the muscle and bone. They're quite a nuisance and often painful. Anyone who must remain in a bed, chair, or wheelchair for extended periods can develop these sores.
Most pressure sores affect patients over 70 years old who are bedridden in hospitals and long-term care facilities. In Canada, about 25% of people in acute-care settings (e.g., hospitals) develop pressure sores. In non-acute care settings (e.g., nursing homes), the prevalence of pressure sores is even higher (about 30%).