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SCI Pamphlets: Staying Healthy after a Spinal Cord Injury


Maintaining Healthy Skin - Part 2

[Download this pamphlet: “Maintaining Healthy Skin: Part 2” (1.37MB)]

Skin inspection

The only way to know if your skin is healthy and intact is to look at it regularly. In areas where sensation (feeling) is decreased, skin inspection is essential and should become a habit. Plan it as a part of your regular daily routine, during a time when you are undressed anyway — such as after a shower, before dressing in the morning or after undressing in the evening. Daily skin inspection is necessary.

If you are unable to see some parts of your body, use a mirror or teach another person to check your skin for you. Long handled mirrors and other specially designed mirrors are available. Check all of your bony prominences, or areas where the bones protrude slightly below the skin (see illustrations below for the locations and names of these areas).


What to look for

Look for any reddened areas, rashes, cuts, bruises, scrapes, or indentations from seams or elastic binding. Check also for blisters, bumps, insect bites, dry flaky skin or pimples. Feel your skin for any thickening or change in texture, especially over bony areas. Check toenails for any redness or pus formation around the end of the nail.

Whenever you notice a problem, try to figure out its cause and make any changes necessary to prevent further problems. The first step in curing any skin problem is to eliminate the cause.

Preventing skin injuries

University of Washington-operated SCI Clinics:

Harborview Medical Center
Rehabilitation Medicine Clinic
325 9th Ave., Seattle WA 98104
Spinal Cord Injury Clinic nurses: 206-744-5862

University of Washington Medical Center
Rehabilitation Medicine Clinic
1959 NE Pacific, Seattle WA 98195
Spinal Cord Injury Clinic nurses: 206-598-4295