The clinical practice for minimizing the risk of pressure sores (PS) is to relief pressures under bony prominences of immobilized patients by changing their postures frequently. The US Department of Health advises to relief sitting pressures at least every 1 hour, and every 15 minutes for individuals who are body-abled. Surprisingly, there is paucity of information in the literature concerning motion of healthy subjects during prolonged sitting, which can be compared with these recommendations. Considering that healthy individuals are able to sit for hours without suffering injuries, such information seems particularly important. Accordingly, our objective was to measure frequency of postural changes and extent of motion during postural changes among healthy subjects who sit in a wheelchair (N=10), in order to provide information that is missing in the literature of PS biomechanics. Subjects were asked to sit comfortably for 90 minutes, during which their trunk's frontal and sagittal motions and sitting pressures were measured. We found that normals change their posture every 9 ± 6 minutes in the sagittal plane, and independently, every 6 ± 2 minutes in the frontal plane. Shoulders, thoracic-spine and lumbar-spine frontal plane motions were 8 ± 4°, 14 ± 7° and 15 ± 7°, respectively, and sagittal trunk-thigh movement was 10.3 ± 7°. The frequency of postural changes in normals, measured herein, was higher than frequencies reported in the literature for patients who suffered PS. This small study population therefore supports the hypothesis that prolonged immobilization contributes to PS onset.
- Decubitus ulcer prevention
- Pressure sores