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Heel Pressure Ulcer | Identification





If identified early on, a heel pressure ulcer can be easily treated and prevented from becoming a more serious health risk to a patient.


Nursing staff members should look for evidence of heel sores upon admission and during regular interactions with patients such as bathing, dressing or scheduled turning. Most importantly, skin examinations should be done on a standardized schedule and should not be skipped or rushed.


During examinations, any skin that is obviously different from the surrounding area should be treated as suspect. Indications that a heel pressure ulcer may be forming include:

• Redness, especially redness that doesn’t whiten when gently pressed
• Difference in temperature, either cooler or warmer than the surrounding skin
• A “spongy” or “raised” feeling
• Blisters on the skin
• Rashes or skin inflammation
• Drainage or pus
• White areas of the skin that are sore to the touch
• Breaks or sores on the skin

Immediate prevention measures such as the use of a heel offloading device can keep the irritated skin from developing into a heel pressure ulcer.


If a pressure sore does develop, it can usually be staged according to the International NPUAP-EPUAP Pressure Ulcer Classification Guidelines:

Stage I: Nonblanchable reddening
Stage II: Loss of some skin thickness
Stage III: Loss of full skin thickness
Stage IV: Full thickness tissue loss with visible tendon, bone or muscle
Unstageable: Full thickness tissue loss in which the base of the ulcer is covered by slough and or eschar, preventing an immediate assessment.
Deep Tissue Injury: Discolored intact skin or blood-filled blister caused by pressure-related damage to the underlying soft tissue.

Once a heel pressure ulcer has been positively identified, a careful treatment regimen should begin immediately. [link to new effective treatments page] A professional heel offloading device like Heelift® is often an appropriate choice to float the heel and eliminate pressure.


Heelift eliminates pressure by offloading and redistributing pressure to the calf using ventilated soft foam secured by "easy-on, easy-off" straps and rings.


Contact us now for more information on how Heelift offloading devices can help prevent heel pressure sores in your facility.


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