An increase in leg pressure is a causative factor in the development of pressure sores and ulcers in people spend most of their time in a bed or wheelchair and people with diabetes mellitus.

If you do not care properly, pressure sores can surface and result in pressure ulcers and then can even require amputation.  Leg pressure relief products and heel protectors can help to prevent the occurrence of pressure sores, to treat and prevent the recurrence of pressure ulcers. Therefore, heel protection for pressure sores (and ulcers) and leg pressure relief something you must consider.

In this article, we are looking into Pressure Relieving Heel Protectors.

Types of Pressure Relieving Devices and Heel Protectors

Let’s try to identify some of the popular leg pressure easing devices.

Pressure Off-loading Devices

Recently, the use of a heel off-loading device which helps to minimize surface contact pressure, which can block the heel capillary, is considered the ultimate method of preventing and treating heel pressure ulcers.

When choosing a heel off-loading or pressure ulcer preventing device, you should consider if the device has the following characteristics.

a. Is it effective for the user?

b. Can be easily cleaned?

c. Is durable and reusable?

d. Will be comfortable?

e. Have a cooling effect?

f. Can be easily applied, ideally with no assistance?

g. Can minimize friction and shear?

h. Is it economical to purchase and run?

Tip: If you are a regular traveler with diabetes, be aware of Diabetes Travel Tips.

Heel Protectors

Heel protectors are devices designed for preventing and treating foot drop (inability to lift the front part of a foot usually as a result of nerve damage or muscles disorders) by suspending the heel to relieve pressure while supporting the foot in an upright position.

Tip: Here are the tips on Diabetes Leg Pain Relief.

They are also used for controlling plantar flexion as well.

Heel protectors are designed especially for both high-risk and low-risk patients to help relieve existing pressure ulcers, and to prevent the formation of pressure ulcers.

Tip: Our guide to Diabetes Wound Care is a good resource too.

Heel protectors help to minimize pain, pressure, abrasion, and to treat and prevent foot drop.

Most heel protectors are designed to float the heel or off-load by lifting the heel from the surface of the bed or chair, their constructions and features vary to meet the needs of the patients.

Heel protector can be constructed in the following ways.

1. Heel Boots

Heel boots can be constructed in different ways using foam, air or gel to float and support the heel comfortably.

Foam boots retain their firm fit and provide good air circulation. The gel-filled boots elevate the heel and control heat.

Air-filled boots use inflated pad or polyethylene.

To prevent discolouration, heel boots are always checked.

Tip: Here is how you select Best Footwear to avoid diabetes sores.

2. Heel Pillows (or pillow boots)

Heel Pillows or pillow boots are designed to raise the foot with soft, padded materials that support the user’s heel and protects against skin breakdown.

3. Heel Cushions

Heel Cushions help to protect the heel and provides corrective positioning to help relieve painful feet and heels.

4. Elevating Heel Cushions

Elevating Heel Cushions gives more comfort and minimizes pressure for the lower leg and not only for the heel.

5. Heel Off-loaders

Heel Off-loaders comes in various styles that include cushions, boots and pillows to suspend the heel, relieving pressure and reducing the risk of pressure ulcers.

They are good for the treatment and prevention of foot drop.

Products for Leg Pressure Relief and Heel Protection

Heel protectors are very important, especially for patients or people who have difficulty in moving around.

Here are some great products that you can buy for your loved ones to make them more comfortable and to help them relieve or prevent leg pressure.

Heel Float II

This is the best and economical product in comfortable heel off-loading; used for preventing and treating pressure ulcers.

It is designed with an open heel to promote the circulation of air, which helps to eliminate heel pressure and gives maximum comfort by suspending the heel in the air.

The lining is made from soft cloth to minimize friction and wicks away moisture.

Constructed with two straps, one strap at the ankle and the other at the toe, and both straps can be moved or adjusted both for comfort and to fit the user.

We recommend using the instep/toe option if the patient’s foot moves excessively.

The extended height helps to keep sheet and blankets off the toes and reduce the risk of foot drop.

It is machine washable.

Heel Float II product can be used with the optional Bilateral Anti-Rotation Foam Grippe.

Applications of Heel Float II

Instep/Toe option

1. You place the patient’s foot inside the Heel Protector, ensuring that the heel is suspended over the air cavity.

2. Move the Velcro strap attached toward the toes and thread it through the web loop near the toes and secure it.

3. Thread the ankle strap through the web loop near the ankle and secure it. It should be snug but not tight.

Ankle Only

1. Place the patient’s foot inside the Heel Protector, ensuring that the heel is suspended over the air cavity.

2. Move the Velcro strap toward the ankle and thread both Velcro straps through the web loops on the opposite side of the Heel Protector and secure it. It should be snug but not tight.

Important Tips

Always remove the Heel Protector every 8 to 12 hours to check the patient’s skin for signs of poor blood supply (ischemia) or discolouration.

The Heel-Float II can be washed and dried at temperatures not more than 180OF (82O C). However, do not use bleach.

Product Specifications and Dimension

Sizes available

Small: 3 inches wide SKC-503134

Medium: 4 inches wide SKC-503135

Large: 5 inches wide SKC-503136

Brand: Skill – Care (USA)

Material: form

Colour: blue

Machine washable: yes

Warranty: 6 months

Heel Float II Review

Pros

  • It is light.
  • It is machine washable.
  • It has a warranty of 6 months.
  • It is deep vein thrombosis (DVT) compatible.
  • Meets CA 117 flammability standards.

Cons

  • It is bulky.
  • Does not have an option for other than blue colour.

Heel Float Plus

This is a comfortable, zero-pressure heel off-loading boot. It is designed to prevent the formation of pressure sores by eliminating pressure on the heel, ankle and toe.

Heel Float Plus boot helps in the healing of existing pressure ulcers by providing maximum air circulation.

The water-based gel pack helps to cool and relieve pressure beneath the ankle.

The Heel-Float Plus also comes with the below.

  • A rigid insert that prevents foot-drop,
  • The cutouts eliminate pressure on toes (lateral and medial pressure),
  • Extended foot support that helps in keeping blanket and sheet off toes, and
  • A foot band that secures below the ankle.

It is covered with a soft, cosy fabric that can be washed.

Application of Heel Float Plus

1. Place the foot of the patient inside the boot. The heel should be suspended directly over the air cavity, and the toes should be aligned with the cutouts on both the left and right sides.

2. Secure well the Velcro straps across the ankle and foot.

The gel pack

You can use the water-based gel pack for hot/cold therapy.

For heat therapy, the gel is warmed in water to the desired temperature.

For cold therapy, the gel pack is placed in a refrigerator to get cool.

The gel pack is removed by opening the tab at the back of the Heel Float.

Important Tips

  • Heel float plus should be removed every 8 to 12 hours to check the patient’s skin for signs of poor blood supply (ischemia) or discoloration.
  • Do not microwave to heat, and do not freeze the gel pack.
  • The gel pack and rigid foot insert should be removed before washing.
  • The Heel-Float Plus can be washed and dried at temperatures not exceeding 180OF (82OC).

Product Specification

Size

  • Small (3” Wide) 503044
  • Medium (4” Wide) 503045
  • Large/Bariatric (5” Wide)

Replacement Gel Pack

  • Small SKU-503095
  • Medium SKU-503097
  • Large SKU-503099

Brand: Skil-care (USA)

Washable: yes

Warranty: 6 months

Heel Float Plus Review

Pros

• It provides a strong air circulation for healing existing sores.

• The soft fabric covering doesn’t irritate the skin.

• Has extended foot support.

• The straps are adjustable for multiple locations.

• It cools and lowers pressure.

• The foot bands are soft and don’t make contact with the bunions or toes.

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a lot of colour option for one to choose from.

Adjustable Heel-Float

These boots eliminate pressure to facilitate the healing of ulcers.

The anti-foot-drop construction and firm insert of the Adjustable Heel Float Boot float the heel over an air cavity to relieve and promote the healing of ulcers
and prevents the development of more pressure sores.

The adjustable belt accommodates multiple angles for plantar flexion.

The water-based gel insert helps to relieve the pressure beneath the ankle and can be used for cool and hot therapy.

The soft, cosy fabric liner makes it comfortable to wear; wicks away moisture from the skin reduces friction.

The outer vinyl fabric cover is easy to clean.

Application of Adjustable Heel-Float

• Place the foot inside the boot.

• The heel should be suspended directly over the air cavity, and align the toes with the cutouts on both left and right sides.

• Secure the Velcro straps across the ankle and foot

Important Tips

  • Remove the gel pack, detachable tread and plastic insert before washing. Washed and dry at temperatures that do not exceed 1800 Fahrenheit. Do not use bleach.

Product specifications

Adjustable boot size:

  • Small, 3″W SKU-503152
  • Medium, 4″W SKU-503153
  • Large/Bariatric, 5″W SKU-503154

Brand: Skil-care

Weight: 1.3 pounds

Department: unisex

Washable: yes

Warranty: 6 months

Adjustable Heel-Float Review

Pros

  • The adjustable belt allows for various degrees of plantar flexion.
  • The liner wicks away moisture and reduces abrasion.
  • The firm insert provides additional support.
  • Can be used for various degrees of plantar flexion for numerous individual patients.
  • Allows the user to stand, pivot, and transfer movement

Tip: A Carousel Sliding Transfer Bench with Swivel Seat can be helpful in transferring for a good bath.

Cons

• They are sold individually.

• The back piece of the foam floats and after washing, the pads appears to move sideways or bunched up.

Heel-Float Air Boot

This is one of a family of Heel-Floats that off-loads the heel by suspending it off the bed.

It is designed to provide maximum air circulation, which helps in the healing and prevention of heel or leg ulcers. It is also designed with a high-rise pod for raising or lowering the heel based on individual needs.

Heel-Float Air Boot is lighter compared to other heel boots and more comfortable for some patients.

The Four air holes help with proper circulation of air and keep the foot cool. The boot provides maximum air circulation for healing or prevention of heel or leg ulcers.

The comfortable inner lining reduces friction.

Boot’s extended height helps to keep sheets and blankets off the toes. It can fit the left or right foot.

It can be wiped, cleaned with soap and water or a disinfectant but cannot be washed.

Specification of Heel-Float Air Boot

Universal Color: Blue

Material: Plastic exterior and a soft velvet-like interior

Brand: Skil-care

Washable: no

Product Code: 503510

Heel-Float Air Boot Review

Pros

  • It is light
  • Minimize the risk of heel drop
  • Treats and prevents pressure sores.
  • Heel-Float Air Boot promotes faster healing by suspending the heel in the air.

Cons

  • It is not sold as a Pair, but only one boot.
  • It cannot be washed

Wipe-Clean Heel-Float

This boot off-loads the heel to eliminate pressure and with a stretch cover that protects against abrasion and can be wiped clean.

 

Wipe-Clean Heel-Float is designed to use in acute facilities that prefer a wipe-clean product against a washable one.

It off-loads heel by suspending it over an air cavity which helps in the healing of existing ulcers and preventing the formation of pressure ulcers.

Wipe-Clean Heel-Float also includes a water-based gel pack that cools and reduces pressure beneath the ankle to minimize moisture caused by perspiration which can cause skin damage.

Wipe-Clean Heel-Float also has two adjustable Velcro straps, with one strap at the ankle and the other at the instep, or with both straps at the ankle, for securing the device.

When using this device, the ankle-instep option should be used if the patient’s foot moves rearward in the Heel-Float.

Application of Wipe-Clean Heel-Float

1. Ankle/Instep option

  • The patient’s foot should be placed inside the Heel-Float, making sure that the heel is suspended directly over the air cavity.
  • Move the Velcro strap towards the toes, thread it through the loop near the toes, and secure it.
  • Thread the ankle strap through the loop near the ankle and secure it, it should be snug but not tight.

2. Ankle Only option

  • The foot should be placed inside the Heel-Float, make sure the heel is suspended directly over the cavity.
  • Move the Velcro strap toward the ankle.
  • Thread both Velcro straps through the loops on the opposite side of the Heel-Float and secure them, it should be snug but not tight.

Specifications

• Water-based gel pack that cools the ankle

• Suspends the heel over air cavity to remove pressure

• Application: Heel float

• Colour: Blue

• Manufacturer: Skil-Care

• Usage: Reusable

Wipe-Clean Heel-Float Review

Pros

• Its sides are cushioned to protect the malleoli

• It prevents planter flexion

• It is reusable with six months guarantee

• Its low-shear cover reduces friction that could damage the skin

Cons

  • It is only priced per each pair

Heel Float Gel-Pack

Like in other devices, the water-based gel pack is used for hot/cold therapy.

For hot use, the gel is warmed in water to the desired temperature.

For cold therapy, the gel pack is placed in a refrigerator to get cool.

The gel pack is removed by opening the tab at the back of the Heel Float.

Important Tips

The Heel-Float should be removed every 8 to 12 hours to check the patient’s skin for ischemia or discoloration.

The Wipe-Clean Heel-Float is cleaned with a spray and wipe cleanser. If required using disinfections, avoid using bleach. Do not wash.

Product specification

  • Size and Unit of heel float

Small (3” Wipe) 503047

Medium (4” Wide) 503048

Large/Bariatric (5” Wide) 503049

  • Size of Replacement Gel Pack

Small 503095

Medium 503097

Large 503099

  • Brand: Skil care
  • Washable: no
  • Warranty: 6 months

Heel Float Gel-Pack Review

Pros

  • Eliminate pressure on the heel.
  • The low-Shear cover minimizes skin abrasion.
  • Eliminates pressure.
  • Water-based gel insert lowers pressure beneath the ankle.
  • It can be wiped clean with spray and wipe cleanser and is reusable.
  • Prevents plantar flexion.
  • E-Z release Velcro straps.

Cons

  • It is not machine washable.

Heels-Off Leg Elevator

Heels-Off Leg Elevator is a solution for situations where a foot boot cannot be tolerated.

This convoluted foam is designed to provide stability and pressure relief that off-loads both heels and make the user more comfortable.

It helps in healing of leg ulcers and preventing the formation of new pressure sores. It raises the legs to relax the spine, preventing leg and lower back pain.

Tip: Leg pain can occur due to many causes. We have revealed causes for leg pain based on the exact location of the pain (groin pain, thigh pain, calf pain, knee pain, foot pain, back of the leg pain), time of the pain (e.g. night leg pain) , and pain association.

The wipe-clean outer cover protects the legs from damaging friction.

Heels-Off Leg Elevator is available with a gel insert that is optional to increase pressure relief and therapeutic cooling for the calves.

The cover can be cleaned with a spray or soap and water and wipe clean.

Applications of Heels-Off Leg Elevator

Put the higher end of the Heels-Off leg elevator under the patient’s knees while suspending the heels.

Important Tips

Avoid using bleach and do not wash.

Product specification

Form sizes:

  • Small/Medium – 24″W x13L” x5.5″H (503151)
  • Medium/Large – 24″W x16L” x7″H (503150)
  • Bariatric – 26″W x16L”x7″H (503167)

Sizes of replacement covers

  • Small/Medium – 24″W x13L” x5.5″H (503151)
  • Medium/Large – 24″W x16L” x7″H (503150)
  •  Bariatric – 26″W x16L”x7″H (503167)

Heels-Off Gel Insert

  • Medium/Large – 24″W x 16″L x 7″H(503165)

Washable: no

Warranty:  none

Note: since pillows/cushions/bedding are hygiene items and cannot be returned if they have been opened or used. There are no trial periods and no guaranteed therapeutic results.

Heels-Off Leg Elevator Review

Pros

Both heels can be Off-loaded at the same time.

Prevents leg and lower back pain.

Prevents the formation of more pressure sores.

Helps in healing existing ulcers.

Relax spine.

Covers are replaceable.

Optional gel insert to add a cooling effect.

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with the gel insert as a part of the item, but as an optional purchase.
  • Cannot be returned if opened.

Foot Drop Boot

Foot-Drop Boot is a plastic boot designed with a rigid and supportive plastic inner splint that control foot drop. When you wear the foot drop boot, your heel is suspended over a molded cavity for maximum pressure relief.

The wide straps are padded for comfort.

It fits both right and left foot.

The synthetic sheepskin liner provides comfort, prevents bruising, and minimizes friction. The extended toe support helps to keep blankets and sheets off the toes, and the extended lateral support stabilize leg rotation.

Foot Drop Boot doesn’t restrict one’s ability to move in bed.

Tip: Here is how you select Best Footwear to avoid diabetes sores.

Applications of Foot Drop Boot

1. Select the proper size of the patient using the size chart.

2. Place patient’s foot in boot so that heel is suspended over the cavity.

3. Secure Velcro straps.

Washing instruction

  • Remove the Foot-Drop Boot cover, wash and dry using standard white goods procedures.
  • Do not use bleach.
  • Do not wash or dry at or above 180OF (82OC).
  • Do not wash the inner splint.

Product specification

Size

  • • Small-3”  Women’s 3-6, Men’s 5-7, 3” wide, SKU-503170
  • • Medium: Women’s 6-9, Men’s 7-9, 4” wide, SKU-503171
  • • Large: Women’s 9-11, Men’s 9-12, 5” wide, SKU-503172

Sizes of Replacement cover

  • • Small, SKU- 503180
  • • Medium, SKU- 503181
  • • Large, SKU-503182

Brand: skill care

Weight:1 pound

Department: unisex

Colour: white

Foot Drop Boot Review

Pros

• Controls foot drop.

• Synthetic sheepskin liner provides comfort, prevents bruising and minimizes friction.

• The synthetic sheepskin is removable and washable.

• The wide straps are padded for comfort.

• Leg rotation can be stabilize using the extended lateral support.

• Fits either right or left foot.

Cons

• Only comes in white colour.

Prevalon Heel Protectors

Prevalon® Heel Protector helps minimize the risk of pressure ulcers by suspending the heel to relieve pressure.

It is designed with a comfortable grip interior, which helps to keep the foot in place for continuous pressure relief.

The skin-friendly suede fabric liner helps to gently hold the limb in place even when the patient is moving.

The rip-stop nylon covering that easily slide over the sheet helps the patient to maintain freedom of movement.

The two soft, adjustable straps one at the foot and the other at the ankle secures the fit and ankle and leaves the toes and heel exposed.

Prevalon Heel Protector is designed to fit either foot.

Comes as Prevalon Heel Protector I, II, or III. Prevalon Heel Protector II and III is designed with a contractual strap that helps to prevent planter flexion contracture and an integrated anti-rotation wedge that helps in preventing lateral rotation, reducing the risk of damaging the calf nerve.

Application of Prevalon Heel Protectors

1. Select the proper size of the patient by measuring the patient’s calf circumference.

2. Place patient’s foot in boot so that heel is suspended over the cavity.

3. Secure Velcro straps.

Product Specification

Product and size of the circumference are below.

1. Prevalon Heel Protector I

Fits calf circumference 10 in – 18 in (25 cm – 46 cm) Item #: 7305

2. Prevalon Heel Protector II

Fits calf circumference 10 in – 18 in (25 cm – 46 cm) Item #: 7302

3. Prevalon Heel Protector III

– Standard

Fits calf circumference 10 in – 18 in (25 cm – 46 cm) Item #: 7355

– Petite

Fits calf circumference 5 – 10 in (13 – 25cm) Item #: 7312

– XL

Fits calf circumference 18 – 25 in (46 –63cm) Item #: 7382

Brand: Sage

Latex: no

Prevalon Heel Protector Review

Pros

  • It can fit either foot.
  • Latex-free.
  • Compatible with Sequential Compression Device (SCD).
  • Helps to reduce the risk of a heel injury.

Cons

  • It is expensive.

Ehob Foot Waffle Air Cushion

Waffle air cushion reduces pressure by suspending the heel while the ankle, calf and heel. Designed with air-filled straps and foot pad help to prevent and to treat pressure ulcer.

The foot cradle helps to reduce lateral rotation, prevent foot drop and provides stability.

The air venting holes controls temperature and moisture by promoting air circulation, the soft, cloth liner help to keep the skin dry and comfortable.

The non-abrasive, medical-grade vinyl outer cover allows movement without resistance and is easy to clean.

The foot cradle gives stability, reduces lateral rotation and prevent foot drop.

Foot Gate at the bottom can be adjusted to make room for multiple foot widths and for visual inspection of the foot or changing the dressing without removing the device.

Optional Anti-Rotation Wedge is available to prevent rotation of leg while in bed.

The strap can be opened or closed depending on what the patient needs.
WAFFLE Custom Heel Protectors are single patient use.

Application of Ehob Foot Waffle Air Cushion

1. Choose the patient size by measuring calf circumference before choosing the product size.

2. Place the patient heel in the waffle cushion and secure the air fill strap.

Product Specification

Product size and calf circumference:

· Small

10-110in to 11.5in (25 to 29cm)

SKU#: NCM-NC303

· Medium

12in to 14in (31 to 36cm) SKU#: NCM-NC30310-2

· Large

14.5in to 18in (36 to 45cm)

SKU#: NCM-NC30310-3

Brand: EHOB

Warranty: 1year

Ehob Foot Waffle Air Cushion Review

Pros

  • It can be used at home, on wheelchairs and while on a hospital bed.

(Tip: Choosing a Good Cushion for the Wheelchair
could help too. Don’t buy a Roho Cushion before reading this)

  • The hook and loop closures allow for quick application and adjustment for a perfect fit.
  • The covering is antimicrobial and reduces the risk of infection.
  • It is easily cleaned with warm water and soap without reducing antimicrobial properties.
  • Latex-free
  • Backed with a 1-year warranty

Cons

  • They are single patient use.

Conclusion

Heel protectors help to reduce leg pressure and the risk of leg ulcers. Many heel protectors that help to offload the heel are available and can help to prevent the development of pressure ulcer. The best heel protector should not only be able to offload the leg but protect the leg, prevent foot drop and protect the calf nerve by keeping the foot in a neutral position.

The products come in different designs, features and made with different material. The patients and caregivers have to choose the one that meets the user’s need following the above guide.

Tip: Negative Pressure Wound Therapy, Sequential Air Compression Leg Massager and Foot And Calf Massager
could help with healing pressure ulcers and preventing pressure sores too.

Tip: Here are the Tips For Speedy Wound Healing and the Best Wound Dressing Products.

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy | Sequential Air Compression Leg Massager | Foot And Calf Massager

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy  vs.LX7 Max Review  vs. Human Touch™ Reflex SOL Foot and Calf Massager

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