African Americans living in nursing homes are more likely than their white counterparts to suffer from blisters and sores that can cause muscle and bone damage, according to a new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association and reported by Reuters.

For the study, University of Iowa researchers followed reported cases of blisters and sores (called pressure ulcers) experienced by 2.5 million patients from 2003 to 2008 at more than 12,000 U.S. nursing homes.

Scientists found that even though during that period the overall rate of pressure ulcers decreased among patients, black nursing home residents were more likely to develop these blisters and sores.

What’s more, researchers noted that both black and white patients were more likely to get pressure ulcers in nursing homes with a higher percentage of African-American residents. (At nursing homes with a majority of white patients, black and white residents were less likely to develop blisters and sores.)

Why? Well, possibly because nursing homes with more black patients might lack sufficient funding, researchers suggested.

In addition, scientists said other reasons for these disparities might include a lack of staff, poorly trained nurses, high staff turnover rates and differences in the administration of vaccinations, pain treatment, end-of-life care and the number of patients who are admitted with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes.

The solution? Researchers suggested policy makers cut down on disparities by offering rewards to nursing homes that showed care improvements.

Click here to read about what some black men do that contributes to the health care disparities they experience.