There are several factors that cause patients’ heels to be at particular risk of pressure injury, both at home and in healthcare facilities, the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel explains:

  • the Calcaneus, the largest bone of the foot, is angular
  • the fatty tissue pad covering the heel is only 18mm thick; the skin only 0.64mm thick
  • diabetic neuropathy and general aging causes the skin to thin
  • friction and shear are caused by patient “sliding down” in bed and by resting on wheelchair heel rests
  • blood supply to the heel may be impaired by peripheral vascular disease
  • leg spasms cause friction
  • patients may use heels to push themselves up in bed
  • a patient may neglect to remove compression hose

“When it comes to wound care, the term ‘float the heels’ means that a patient’s heel should be positioned in such a way as to remove all contact between the heel and the bed,” explains the Wound Care Education Institute. That method is fine for alert and cooperative patients, but for individuals with pressure ulcers, heel suspension devices are strongly recommended.

Patient safety and pressure injury prevention are our primary concerns at Action Products. To protect bony prominences such as elbows and heels, Action® Heel and Elbow Pads are recommended for those clients "at risk" or diagnosed with compromised skin disorders.

“Early identification of risk and the use of preventive measures are central to reducing the morbidity, mortality, and high medical costs associated with heel PUs,” was the conclusion of a study at the Loretto Health and Rehabilitation Center in Syracuse, New York.

The intervention resulted in a 95% reduction in heel ulcers. After the cost of heel protectors for 550 at-risk patients was subtracted from the estimated cost of treating the heel ulcers that had been prevented, the estimated cost savings were calculated to be between $12,400 and $1,048,400!

At Action Products, we agree - patient safety must include bringing pressure ulcers “to heel”!   heel training