If you are taking care of a bed-bound loved one at home, you may have noticed their feet are starting to stay straight. They may not have enough muscle control to flex it. If you want to prevent further foot drop, use the three tips below.
Do Not Place Heavy Blankets On Their Feet
If your family member tends to get cold, you may pile blankets on them to keep them warm. However, when the weight of the blankets is on the feet, this could put enough pressure on them to prevent your loved one from flexing.
After you position the blankets, pull them away from the feet. You can do this by pulling the ends up to the ankles. When you do this, put heavy socks on the feet to keep them warm. Every time you go into their room to provide care, check to make sure the covers have not shifted and landed on their feet.
Prop Their Feet Up
While laying in bed, gravity pulls the toes down. After time goes by, your family member's weak muscles could stay that way. To avoid this, use a prop at the bottom of their feet.
After turning or positioning them in bed, place a pillow between their feet and the bottom of the bed. Remove the pillow after two hours, then place it again two hours later. You do not want to keep the pillow there because the pressure of the pillow could cause pressure sores on the heels and balls of the feet.
Alternate A Foot Stabilizer Boot Every Two Hours
Another method of keeping your loved one's feet flexed is alternating a foot stabilizer boot every two hours. The boot is a piece of plastic that molds to the bottoms of the legs and feet with the top of it open. It does not touch the heels of the feet, meaning it will not cause undue pressure on them.
To keep track of when to alternate the boot, time it to coincide with your family member's turning schedule. For example, when you turn them on their right side, place the boot on the right foot. Two hours later, switch the boot to the left side after repositioning them on the left. Then, after another two hours, take it off while on their back to give their feet a break.
Using the above care tips will help keep your family member from developing foot drop. If you have further questions or would like to ask about getting a foot stabilizer boot, speak with your loved one's home healthcare agency like AAA Referral & Home Health. They may be able to give you suggestions, as well as the equipment you may need.