Nutrition & Wound Healing

Nutrition & Healing
Nutrition & Healing
Nutrition & Healing

Understanding pressure injuries and how nutrition can help them heal

Pressure injuries and how proper nutrition can help reduce the risk of pressure injuries and heal them

What is a pressure injury?

Pressure injuries are areas of the skin that break down when something keeps rubbing or pressing against the skin over a prolonged period of time. They might also be called pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or bedsores.1

Pressure injuries are often grouped by the severity of symptoms1


Stage I: A red, painful area of the skin appears. The skin may be warm or cool and firm or soft. This could be a sign that a pressure injury is forming.


Stage II: The skin blisters or becomes an open sore. You may notice that the skin around it is red and irritated.


Stage III: An open, sunken hole develops. Loss of tissue under the skin. Fat tissue may be visible.


Stage IV: At this stage, the pressure injury has become so deep that there is exposed muscle, bone, and tendons.


Watch for pressure injuries on these areas of the body where they are most likely to occur1:

  • Buttocks
  • Elbows
  • Hips
  • Heels
  • Ankles
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Back of head

The role proper nutrition plays in the healing of pressure injuries2,3


Poor and inadequate nutrition, in addition to prolonged pressure on the skin, can put you at risk and can impair healing. The body needs energy, protein (which includes the conditionally essential amino acids arginine and glutamine), zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E during the wound healing process. Not getting proper nutrition can also affect the body’s ability to fight infection.


Good sources of protein include eggs, chicken, lean beef, fish, and low-fat dairy. If you don’t eat meat, good sources of plant-based protein include legumes, soy foods, nuts, seeds, and nut butters.


Carbohydrates provide energy. Make sure you’re choosing whole-grain options like whole-grain breads and pastas. Fruits and vegetables, including leafy greens, are also a good choice. Avoid foods with refined and added sugars.2


Bottom line: Eat healthy and stay hydrated, as it can help you reduce the risk of pressure injuries and help the healing process.

References: 1. National Library of Medicine website. Accessed November 8, 2022. 2. National Library of Medicine website. Accessed November 8, 2022. 3. National Institute of Health website. Accessed December 12, 2022.