My Heels So Sore - What’s The Cause?


My Heels So Sore - What’s The Cause?
My Heels So Sore - What’s The Cause?

The constant pressure of the sheet or mattress on the back of your heel is cutting off blood flow

My suspicion is that the pain in each heel is an unfortunate consequence of your hip operation.

As part of the recovery from this procedure, you have had to lie immobile for long periods each day, placing pressure on the soft tissue on the back of each heel, which has caused damage and triggered the pain.

It is a common event, and the extreme sensitivity is the prelude to a pressure ulcer forming - in other words, a bedsore.

The constant pressure of the sheet or mattress on the back of your heel is cutting off blood flow.

Although this area may not be any bigger than an old two shilling piece (roughly the size of a 50p coin), the lack of blood means the tissue is starved of blood and oxygen, and it starts to break down.

This is why, when you lie in bed at night, the pain becomes more intense.

I expect that in the daytime you are not constantly putting pressure on your heels.

Add to this the fact that any of us confined to bed will use our heels (and sometimes elbows) to lever ourselves up on to the slope of the pillows. This pulls on the small blood vessels that supply the skin, worsening the skin damage.

But from your description, these are, thankfully, grade-one pressure ulcers — the least serious type. (Grade four are the most severe, where the skin and tissue have been destroyed, and the bone and muscle are exposed.)

The skin has not broken, but there has been injury to the underlying soft tissues.

However, this skin damage must be prevented from getting any worse.

I accept it is very difficult to avoid bed sores in a patient such as yourself, but there are measures that can reduce or eliminate constant pressure on the heels. If done successfully, you will recover in a week or two.

There are a number of approaches you can try: fluffy sheepskin cups in which to rest the heels, even soft rubber surgical gloves filled with water or air and knotted up and used as simple cushions. Even a soft pillow will help.

Another crucial factor is regular visits from a district nurse who can examine the skin and offer strategies for easing pressure, and help you obtain the necessary equipment.

The nurse should also examine your lower back, as this is another area that is prone to pressure ulcers.

I hope that at this point you have the attention of a GP or a nurse who can keep an eye on you and give you advice. If not, seek this right away.
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