Skin

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Spinal cord injury can cause changes to the way your skin works.  You may have reduced sensation, and you may not be able to shift your weight as well or as often as before.

After a spinal cord injury, your skin is at risk of breakdown from pressure and friction, and vulnerable to burning and freezing.

You need to be on the lookout for pressure sores: they can start as a red spot, but the damage can spread under the skin.  Once a pressure sore is formed, it can take a very long time to heal and can interfere with your lifestyle, so prevention is key.

You can prevent pressure sores by checking your skin every single day.  There are certain parts of your body that have a higher risk of pressure sores, and you’ll need to pay special attention to these areas.

Prevention also means looking out for things that could damage your skin, like buttons or zippers, shoes, wheelchair cushions and damaged equipment.

Pressure relief is your other tool in preventing pressure sores; by shifting your weight and pushing yourself up in your wheelchair, you can relieve the pressure on your bottom.

In this course you’ll learn about:

  • How spinal cord injury may change the way your skin works
  • Risks to your skin after a spinal cord injury including breakdown from pressure and friction, and vulnerability to burning and freezing
  • How to spot a pressure sore
  • How to prevent pressure sores by checking your skin every day
  • How to prevent pressure sores by paying special attention to high-risk areas
  • How to prevent pressure sores by looking out for things that could damage your skin like zippers, buttons, poorly fitting shoes or wheelchair cushions and damaged equipment
  • How to perform proper and frequent pressure relief

Click here to read the script (text-only version) of this course

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Course contents
Section 1 – Skin Health
1.1 – A Top Priority
1.2 – How the Skin Works
1.3 – After a Spinal Cord Injury
1.4 – Pressure Sores

Section 2 – Skin Care Skills
2.1 – Healthy Habits
2.2 – Areas to Monitor
2.3 – Autonomic Dysreflexia
2.4 – Problem-Solving
2.5 – Your Skin Care Team

Section 3 – Prevention
3.1 – Skin Check
3.2 – Pressure Relief
3.3 – Cushions and Equipment
3.4 – Clothes
3.5 – Footwear
3.6 – Deal with a New Wound