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Pathology of a CNH (Chondrodermatitis) Pressure Sore

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In this edition of the blog I am going to describe the pathology of a pressure sore. This is particularly important information if you suffer from CNH because there is very little information out there about it and to treat it effectively, you need to be informed. Knowledge is power.


It may make for rather grim reading but rest assured, if you’re reading this right now then you have already taken appropriate steps to getting a handle on it, and it needn’t progress beyond the very earliest stages.


If it is caught and the pressure is removed early enough, there’s every reason CNH will resolve itself in a timely manner with little inconvenience. If you have just noticed the beginnings of CNH then you can expect to be free of it within a matter of days. You will know the condition is getting better because the skin will be cooler, less sensitive to the touch and the red colouration will give way to pink.


Stage one:

This represents the very first stage of CNH and it only affects the upper layer of the dermis.

Typical symptoms at this stage are a burning or itching sensation. The affected area may look or feel different from the


Stage two:

At the second stage, chondrodermatitis moves deeper and begins to intrude below the surface of the skin. It will be very painful and there will be no equivocation, there is something present.


You will notice that the skin is broken and the affected area is in fact an open wound. It may look like a pus-filled blister. The liquid exuding from it may be clear rather than infected but in any case the area will be swollen, warm and extremely painful. The fluid leaking contains a lot of proteins and the loss of them can hinder the healing process. Therefore, as stated previously, make sure to take on increased protein during this time.


At this point it may be confused for skin cancer, so always have it checked by your dermatologist just in case.


Recovery can take between three days and 3 weeks.


Stage three:

Stage three CNH has passed through the second layer of skin and is now affecting tissue underneath.

Because of this, the affected area will look recessed or concave and may have an unpleasant odour due to infection. The CNH itself will be red but the tissue surrounding it may have turned black because it is dead.


Chondrodermatitis that has reached stage three is serious and you should definitely consult your doctor. Infection will be a concern and therefore antibiotics to fight it may be prescribed. The necrotic tissue may also require removal.


At this stage recovery can take between one and four months.


Stage four:

In its final stage, CNH is extremely serious.


The symptoms will be unmistakable and will be causing severe pain and anguish. It will present as a deep, large sore. The surrounding skin will be dead or dying. It is likely to be infected. At this point it will have gone through all layers of skin and fat and will be eating into the cartilage.


You will probably need surgery at this point and the recovery time is measured in months to years.



This all makes for terrifying reading but don’t worry. CNH need never progress beyond stage one or two.

Keep an eye out for our next article on proper nutrition when recovering from CNH.

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