Frequently Asked Questions
What is offloading?
Offloading means not bearing weight and reducing the pressure on a wounded body area. If your doctor recommends offloading, you should not walk or bear weight on the extremity that has a wound or where a wound could develop. This includes your bottom or hips if you are bed or chair-bound.
Why do I have to offload?
When you have a wound, your body needs a chance to heal the wound. The weight of your body when you walk puts a lot of pressure on your feet and ankles. This pressure keeps new skin from growing and stops new blood vessels from forming. If you have a wound on your bottom or hips, you should not sit or lie where the wound is situated. If you continue to bear weight on a body part that has a wound, it will take longer to heal the wound or the wound may not heal at all.
How do I offload?
There are a number of ways to offload your legs and feet:
- Bed rest is best when appropriate.
- Keep pressure off the wound when you are up.
- You may be ordered a special shoe to allow you to be up on your feet. The shoe may be used for balance and stability but may not be meant for walking.
- Crutches, a walker, or wheelchair may be recommended to use with the special shoe.
- When sitting, reposition in the chair every 15 minutes.
- When lying in bed, reposition every two hours. Once your wound is healed, you need help to prevent new wounds from developing. Customized shoes fitted to your foot by a foot doctor may be prescribed.
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