Preventing the development of heel pressure ulcers
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Preventing the development of heel pressure ulcers

Patricia Davies Senior lecturer, Course leader tissue viability pathway and modules, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, England

Why you should read this article:
  • » To improve your knowledge of the causes and risk factors associated with heel pressure ulcer development

  • » To understand the various elements of an effective risk assessment for pressure ulcers

  • » To provide effective patient care in the prevention of pressure ulcers, based on the latest clinical evidence and research

The heel is a common site for pressure ulcer development, particularly in people who are supine or semi-recumbent because of immobility. There is little protective subcutaneous tissue and no muscle or fascia within the heel, which means that it is vulnerable to pressure, friction and shear forces. Heel pressure ulceration remains a clinical challenge for nurses and the wider healthcare team, as well as a cause of pain and physical debilitation for the patient. This article examines the risk factors for heel pressure ulceration, and details patient assessment and specific measures that can be undertaken to prevent the development of heel pressure ulcers.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2018.e11294


Davies P (2018) Preventing the development of heel pressure ulcers. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2018.e11294

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 24 September 2018

Want to read more?

Already subscribed? Log in


Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first 3 months

Your subscription package includes:
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals and their archives
  • Customisable dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests
RCN student member? Try Nursing Standard Student

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now