Contributed by the Bioengineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the Bioengineering Division April 14, 2003; revision received July 16, 2003. Associate Editor: C. Dong.

Soft tissues are sensitive to prolonged compressive loading, eventually leading to tissue necrosis in the form of pressure ulcers 1. Pressure ulcers can occur in situations where people are subjected to sustained mechanical loads, such as when bedridden, sitting in a wheelchair or from wearing prostheses. Pressure ulcers severely affect the patient’s quality of life, since the ulcers are painful, difficult to heal and often prolong hospitalization periods. Despite considerable attempts to prevent pressure ulcers, prevalence figures remain unacceptably high. In a prevalence study involving more than 16,000 patients in the Netherlands, a mean prevalence of 23.1% in health care institutions was reported 6.

Pressure ulcers are often classified in four...

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