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Pathology and Clinical Presentation of Friction Injuries: Case Series and Literature Review

Berke, Christine Thies

Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing: January/February 2015 - Volume 42 - Issue 1 - p 47–61
doi: 10.1097/WON.0000000000000087
WOUND CARE
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BACKGROUND: Effective wound management is dependent, in part, on identification and correction of causative factors. Trunk wounds can be caused by pressure, shear, moisture, friction, or some combination of these factors. Wounds caused by moisture and/or friction are frequently mislabeled as pressure ulcers.

CASE SERIES: This article presents a series of 45 patients who developed skin injuries on the medial buttocks and/or posterior thighs that the author believes were caused primarily by friction damage to the skin. The lesions were not located over palpable bony prominences and are therefore unlikely to be pressure ulcers. They were not located in skin folds and are unlikely to represent intertriginous dermatitis. Clinical data related to these 45 patients are presented, as are the location and characteristics of the lesions. These characteristics are discussed in relation to current literature regarding the pathology and clinical presentation of wounds caused by pressure, moisture, and friction.

CONCLUSION: It is critical for wound clinicians and staff nurses to accurately identify the etiology of any wound. Wounds located on fleshy prominences exposed to repetitive friction should be labeled as friction injuries.

Christine Thies Berke, MSN, APRN-NP, CWOCN-AP, AGPCNP-BC, The Nebraska Medical Center, Center for Wound Healing, Omaha.

Correspondence: Christine Thies Berke, MSN, APRN-NP, CWOCN-AP, AGPCNP-BC, The Nebraska Medical Center, Center for Wound Healing, 4239 Farnam St, Ste 300, Omaha, NE 68198 (cmtberke@gmail.com).

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

© 2015 by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society.