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Heel Pressure Sores: Effective Treatment



Overall, the most effective strategy to prevent and treat heel pressure ulcers is pressure redistribution.


A professional heel offloading device that floats the heel is usually recommended for successful pressure redistribution. The device needs to provide patient comfort and ease of use as it floats the heel.


Appropriate offloading, adequate ventilation and friction-free materials are all important features for any product that will be used to prevent or treat heel pressure sores.


Heelift® Suspension Boot provides all these advantages and can play an appropriate role in prevention and treatment regimens. Heelift offers:

• Heel elevation in a zero pressure environment
• Forefoot support to prevent heel cord contracture
• Ventilation holes and an open leg and forefoot promote air circulation and increase patient comfort
• Proper positioning to avoid hip rotation

Once the heel is floated in a professional offloading device, the most effective regimens for treating heel pressure ulcers also comprise several key strategies such as:

Cleansing: Saline or potable water is appropriate for cleaning wounds; surfactants and/or antibacterial agents of low tissue toxicity can be appropriate where debris or bacterial colonization is present. Cleansing the surrounding skin also can be useful.
Debridement: Thorough initial debridement of devitalized tissue should be followed by maintenance debridements. Depending on the wound and the patient’s condition, appropriate methods may incorporate surgical procedures, proteolytic or fibrinolytic enzymes or mechanical or biosurgical measures.
Dressings: A dressing that keeps the wound bed moist and the peripheral skin dry is an appropriate choice. Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) with an adequate pressure redistribution device can be appropriate for large heel pressure sores.
Antibiotics: Topical antibiotics may be appropriate for tissue infections or bioburdens. Systemic antibiotics are indicated for patients with systemic infection or osteomyelitis.
Surgery: Skin grafts can be an appropriate choice to speed closure/epithelialization of clean granulating heel pressure sores.

The exact treatment regimen will depend upon the severity of the pressure sore, as indicated by the International NPUAP-EPUAP Pressure Ulcer Classification Guidelines. The downloadable AWMA: Heel Pressure Ulcer Poster provides more information on the stages outlined in the guidelines as well as recommendations on treatment practices.


Contact us now for more information on how Heelift can make a difference in how your facility prevents and treats heel pressure sores.

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