Without proper treatment, a bedsore can result in the destruction of muscle and bone. Bedsores progress in four stages. These stages are:

Stage 1

Stage One

A stage one bedsore is characterized by a red area on the skin (could also appear blue or purple on darker skin tones) that does not fade within 30 minutes of removing pressure; sizes vary and the sore is sometimes irregular in shape.


Stage 2

Stage Two

A stage two bedsore appears on the upper surface of skin as an open wound that may look like a blister, abrasion (scrape) or shallow crater.


Stage 3

Stage Three

A stage three bedsore involves damage to a full layer of skin, extending into an underlying fat or tissue layer (but not through the muscle). The sore is often black but can appear a hard red or white tissue.



Stage 4

Stage Four

A stage four bedsore involves complete skin loss with extensive destruction, often extending to the muscle, bone, and supporting structures (e.g., tendon, joint capsule). Undermining and sinus tracts – which aren’t visible on the skin’s surface – can under the skin.


Inadequate Nursing Care

To prevent bedsores, bedridden nursing home residents should be moved or repositioned every 2 hours to minimize rubbing, pressure, and friction. Lubricants and protective padding may also be helpful. The skin should be kept clean and dry (extremely important for incontinent patients).