Aids for positioning
Wedges to support the legs come in several sizes allowing you to pick which suits your needs best. Many medical conditions cause the legs to swell and elevating the legs for a while may reduce that swelling. Physicians recommend raising limbs to promote healing following an injury or surgery as well.
- DMI Ortho Bed Wedge Elevated Leg Pillow is a supportive foam wedge pillow for improving circulation, reducing back and knee pain, and relieving pressure for phlebitis, varicose veins, and restless leg syndrome. The foam keeps its shape, is machine washable, and has a removable cover.
- Restorology Elevating Foam Leg Rest Pillow-Wedge Pillow- reduces back pain and improves circulation. The extra-wide platform allows both legs to rest on the pillow providing comfort for periods of sleep and relaxation. The dense foam does not flatten; the removable microfiber cover is machine washable. The height promotes comfort in sleeping and healing.
- Xtra-Comfort Leg Elevation Pillow – provides support, elevation, and immobilization for swelling, post-surgery recovery, and other needs where body alignment and leg position must agree. It supports both the knee, leg, and ankle with a 35-degree incline. It has a non-slip removable fabric cover that is machine washable.
Lying flat in the bed without anything under the knees puts stress against the lower back region. If you add a small pillow, the natural curvature of the spine returns, allowing normal body alignment, better blood flow, and less pressure on the nerves in the spine. Some people like to have both legs lying on the same pillow, while others like each leg supported independently. I prefer using the type that keeps both legs together.
A word of caution: If you use the type that fits under both legs, change the person’s position often because gravity presses their average body weight against that cushion and may cut off circulation a bit, causing pain. Turning them slightly to one side or the other relieves the pressure and the resulting pain.
I also like to use the Knee Pillow for Side Sleepers under my husband’s ankle to keep his feet off the bed. Elevating his ankles prevents bed sores on his heels or the sides of his feet.
Knee Pillow for Side Sleepers – This knee divider separates the upper knee from the lower one and creating the correct spacing between them. In doing so, back pain is relieved as pressure on the spine is reduced, and proper alignment maintained during sleep. The Knee Pillow for Side Sleepers is useful for treating sciatica, hip, and joint pain and as post-surgery pain relief.
- Half Moon Bolster Pillow – Pillows such as this half-moon bolster are essential for both promoting proper body alignment and providing comfort. The Bolster Pillow goes under the knees elevating the legs during sleep for those who are back sleeper. Placing it under the ankles may also help to reduce varicose veins. As a knee pillow, it eases back, leg, knee, ankle, and hip joint discomfort by providing proper alignment.
Whether caregiving or taking a moment to rest, finding a way to raise the head of the bed is something, everyone needs now and then. For the non-disabled, piling pillows behind their back provide a way to recline with satisfaction to watch television, read a book, take a nap, or prevent reflux. However, for those who have weak upper body strength, their inability to maintain balance or stop themselves as they begin to topple over makes using cushions quite frustrating. Pillows are highly effective as a way to position someone on their side or to protect bony areas from hard surfaces, but they don’t work well as a means of propping someone upright.
Having a sufficient number and type of bed wedges can make an incredible difference in the level of difficulty you encounter in your role as a caregiver. Furthermore, they can help provide comfort and prevent skin breakdown in addition to promoting normal body movement and contours that help prevent contractures.
Using wedges to keep the head elevated helps prevent reflux, which is a contributing factor to pneumonia. With the head raised, gravity does not press against the chest wall as much, allowing the diaphragm to move better and breathing to happen easier. When feeding time rolls around, if you do not own a bed that has a mechanism to raise the head, it is not safe to allow someone to eat in bed unless you place a wedge behind their head before they take that first bite of food. Aspiration can cause choking, pneumonia, or even death.
Bed wedges come in multiple sizes and shapes. Having a variety can be useful, providing for greater flexibility of use. Many have coverings that come with them, but if not, I’ve found pillowcases work just as well.
Relax Home Life 7.5 Inch Bed Wedge Pillow for Acid Reflux- This bed wedge effectively helps acid reflux, GERD, and heartburn, as well as snoring, allergies, and postnasal drip. Customers state they use it for coughing, breathing problems, head migraines, poor circulation, neck, shoulder, knee, leg, arm, and back pain. The triangle-shaped wedge consists of a 1.5-inch memory foam top layer with a bamboo cover that molds and aligns with any sleeping style while the foam bottom layer provides the firm support required when elevating the torso.
InteVision Extra Large Bed Wedge & Headrest Pillow – The extra-large bed wedge (33″ x 30.5″ x 12″) made of two-inch memory foam comes with a height-adjustable memory foam headrest measuring approximately half the width of a queen-size mattress. It has a 400-thread count cover and helps prevent acid reflux, snoring, allergies, and other issues requiring an elevated head position.
Queen Size Mattress Genie Adjustable Bed – An affordable alternative to purchasing a hospital bed, this ergonomic recliner inflates under any mattress to raise the head of the bed to a 26-40-degree angle depending on the thickness of your mattress. Using a remote, you can also deflate the device as needed. Both simple and affordable!
Adjustable Bed Wedge Pillow – The adjustable bed wedge allows you to customize the height and incline of your pillow in seven different ways! Not only does it function as a head and neck wedge, but it also easily converts into a leg elevation pillow. The dense and durable dual-layer of visco-elastic premium memory foam consists of temperature-sensitive white foam that molds to your body shape—the results – a firm but not stiff pillow that provides comfort but not compression.
Soamay Bed Pillows – Great for sleeping; made of premium hypoallergenic plush fiber. 20 x 26 inches. Pillows are washable and come with a removable cover that is also washable. Great to use as support under an arm or elbow or as extra reinforcement next to a wedge.