heel, pressure ulcer, purple heel, deep tissue injury



  1. Salcido, Richard MD
  2. Lee, Augustine MD
  3. Ahn, Chulhyun MD, MS


PURPOSE: To enhance the learner's competence with information about heel pressure ulcers.


TARGET AUDIENCE: This continuing education activity is intended for physicians and nurses with an interest in skin and wound care.


OBJECTIVES: After participating in this educational activity, the participant should be better able to:


1. Interpret factors contributing to potential pressure ulcers (PrUs).


2. Apply knowledge gained on risk factors, prevention and treatment of heel PrUs, suspected deep tissue injuries, and "purple heel" to patient care scenarios.



ABSTRACT: The heel is a frequent site of pressure ulcer formation, in particular, the development of suspected deep tissue injury. This article reviews the epidemiology, pathophysiology and prevention of heel pressure ulcers. Also, the related concept of purple heel, a not-well-recognized entity, is introduced.