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Dealing with heel pain

September 2, 2014
by Kathleen Mears
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A few weeks ago, a friend visited and I had him tighten my foot rests. My feet push down hard on them, which loosens the bolts and screws moving the foot rest out of alignment. When the foot plates are out of alignment, my feet are uncomfortable. After my friend adjusted my foot rests, my feet felt better. But, a couple of weeks later my right heel started to burn more than usual.

I asked the assistant director of nursing if the maintenance man could change the angle on my foot rests. That small adjustment can make a big difference. But the maintenance man has not come to do the adjustment.

Last week a night shift aide told me my right heel had a bright red spot on it. I cringed inside because I was concerned it was the beginning of a pressure sore. Although I watch my skin carefully, I sometimes ignore heel pain.

Two nurss looked at my heel and said it is red, but not open. When I am in bed, I keep my heels elevated by putting a pillow under my calves. But even with my heels floating, my right heel still hurts. My nurse told me therapy would do an evaluation.

The therapist confirmed the spot was not an open sore. He looked at my AFOs (ankle/foot orthosis) and suggested some padding for the right heel. However, neither of us saw anything that would have caused a reddened area.

The therapist said to continue to keep my right heel up off the bed on a pillow. If I am propped up securely on the pillow, my foot will stay there. However, my foot could be getting too much pressure when I sit in my power chair. He also suggested a night splint/splints to cradle my heels and keep my feet in a neutral position. It would be a form of passive range of motion.

The therapist did not recommend therapy and he is checking to see if Medicare will pay for the night splint/splints.

In the meantime, a skin treatment is being applied each night. It cools the skin and promotes healthy skin growth. I am hoping the skin treatment, massaging my heel, and keeping my heel elevated will allow the red spot to heal so I will not get a pressure sore.



Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...