Phone: 866-782-6258

Choosing the Right Pressure Relief Device for the Heel

Jennifer A Gardner, PT, DPT, MHA, CWS

January 3, 2013



How do you decide which heel relief device to use for your patients?  What are the different options available?


A lot of times it comes down to what your facility already has.  All of the options are good - even a pillow is good when used appropriately.  We have the Prevalon system.  We like it because the outside is a parachute-like material, so there is very little friction and shear.  If the patient is moving their heel up and down in bed, it helps glide the heel along the sheet surface.  In my previous facility, I had the Heelift® Boot which is more of that egg crate material. That worked fine.  Then the Medline pillow works well, too, but I think that it is more expensive.  If your facility refuses to have any of these devices, then just make sure that there are enough pillows out there in your facility that adequate pressure relief can be supplied with a pillow.  A pillow positioned appropriately takes off just as much pressure as one of those heel relief devices. I will say that those heel bow pads , they are like heel protectors that you might in nursing homes, are not as good because they do not actually relieve the pressure.  They give a little more cushioning than the bed would, but they do not actually take pressure away.  The devices that I listed above actually completely suspend the heel whereas the heel bows do not.  

jennifer a gardner

Jennifer A Gardner, PT, DPT, MHA, CWS

Dr. Gardner has been a physical therapist for 15 years with the last 10 concentrated solely on wound care. She became a Certified Wound Specialist in 2001 and recently successfully passed her re-certification in October 2011. Currently, Dr. Gardner is employed at Underwood-Memorial Hospital as the Manager of Wound Care Services, supervising both inpatient wound care and the outpatient wound center. In addition, she has been adjunct professor at College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN for the last 7 years, teaching Integumentary to doctoral physical therapy students.  Dr. Gardner has presented both nationally and internationally on various wound care topics and continues to participate in research studies on new concepts in wound healing.

Related Courses

Contemporary Guidelines for Exercise and Diabetes: Application to Physical Therapy Cases
Presented by Gina Pariser, PT, LDE, PhD
Recorded Webinar


Gina Pariser, PT, LDE, PhD
Course: #3387Level: Introductory2 Hours
  'Overall the course was very well put together and organized and went along with my learning style'   Read Reviews
Physical activity is established as an important therapy in the prevention and management of diabetes and diabetes-related health comorbidities. This course reviews new guidelines related to physical activity for improving glucose control and cardiovascular health in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and highlights ways to apply these guidelines in different physical therapy cases. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT and PTA.

Endurance Assessment and Intervention
Presented by Pamela Bartlo, PT, DPT, CCS
Recorded Webinar


Pamela Bartlo, PT, DPT, CCS
Course: #3404Level: Intermediate2 Hours
  'Overall the course was taught very well building on what I already know and reinforcing my knowledge the correlation of how endurance is directly related to strength and mobility'   Read Reviews
It is important to assess a patient's endurance and then provide interventions to improve it. It is not enough to just say someone has decreased endurance. We need to quantify it and progress it. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT/PTA.

Diabetes in Adults: Current Guidelines and Evidence
Presented by Sally Stillings, MA, PT, MPT, CHT
Recorded Webinar


Sally Stillings, MA, PT, MPT, CHT
Course: #3958Level: Intermediate2 Hours
  'I have more confidence with treating and exercising my patients with diabetes'   Read Reviews
This course gives us an overview of diabetes in adults, discusses current perspectives and guidelines, and addresses its significance in PT practice. It also looks at some of the current literature that addresses the evidence for risk factors and interventions and to see how they may apply to our practices. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT/PTA.

An Amplitude-Focused Interprofessional Approach for Parkinson's Disease, In Partnership with LSVT® Global
Presented by Julia Wood, MOT, OTR/L, Heather J. Cianci, PT, MS, GCS, Heather Hodges, MA, CCC-SLP
Recorded Webinar


Julia Wood, MOT, OTR/LHeather J. Cianci, PT, MS, GCSHeather Hodges, MA, CCC-SLP
Course: #4470Level: Advanced5 Hours
  'videos and examples given'   Read Reviews
Master skills to implement in your practice immediately with continued Master Class. There is growing evidence that supports the benefit of providing care through an interprofessional approach for individuals with complex diagnoses like Parkinson’s disease (PD). This course serves to provide practical guidance in providing PT, OT, and SLP treatment set against the background of LSVT LOUD and LSVT BIG to positively impact the quality of life and function of those living with PD.

A Physical Therapist Guide to Exercise Prescription for the Diabetic and Pre-diabetic Population
Presented by Rina Pandya, PT, DPT
Recorded Webinar


Rina Pandya, PT, DPT
Course: #4483Level: Advanced3 Hours
  'Instructor was passionate and ready to teach'   Read Reviews
This course equips the physical therapist to identify pre-diabetes and type 1 diabetes in their patients based on history and clinical signs and symptoms. Exercise Prescription, the interaction of other medications, and modulation of a current exercise program for patients with diabetes as a co-morbidity are also included. This course also includes the management of diabetes from a Covid-19 perspective.

Editor's Note: Regarding Pennsylvania credits, this course is approved by the PA State Board of Physical Therapy for 3 hours of Direct Access CE credit.

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience. By using our site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.