The aim of this study was to establish a pressure ulcer model that visualizes the microcirculation, and to examine the participation of ischemia-reperfusion injury in the pathophysiology of pressure ulcers. An original system composed of a new skin fold chamber and compression device allowed loading quantitative vertical stress to the skin. An intravital microscopic technique enabled direct visualization of the microcirculation in the physiological condition and in response to pressure application. To estimate the effect of ischemia-reperfusion injury, animals were divided into two groups: the compression-release group (n = 8), in which the animals received four cycles of compression-release which consisted of 2 hours of compression followed by 1 hour of pressure release; and the compression alone group (n = 8) in which the animals underwent continuous compression for 8 hours. Functional capillary density was quantified before the compression procedure and on day 1 (35 hours) after the first evaluation. The cyclic compression-release procedure significantly decreased functional capillary density as compared to continuous compression, indicating that in our experimental setting repetition of ischemia-reperfusion cycle more severely damaged the microcirculation than single prolonged ischemic insult. This finding supports the significant contribution of ischemia-reperfusion injury to the pathophysiology of pressure ulcers at the level of dynamic in vivo microcirculation.