SelectFlex is dedicating this Blog Article to the Nurses who take care of us all when we are sick and in need. Today is the start of National Nurse’s Week, which culminates on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the founder of modern nursing.
Under normal circumstances, Nursing is a demanding profession but, lately it’s become even more stressful. Nurses are known for taking care of others at the cost of their own well-being. Lack of self-care can lead to excessive fatigue and personal health issues. When a nurse takes the time to care for themselves, not only do they feel better, but colleagues and patients benefit as well. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds to create a work-life balance in addition to being a nurse role model.
Nurses especially, but also teachers, construction workers, hospitality workers and anyone else who spends a great deal of time on their feet, know the toll standing for long periods can take on the body. If the job requires standing for lengthy periods without rest, it can cause a wide variety of problems, particularly if combined with poor posture or shoes that don’t provide adequate support. These issues, over time, go far beyond tired feet and can develop into chronic foot pain and other ailments like plantar fasciitis.
1. Prioritize Foot Care
When standing, the same foot muscles strain repeatedly, as pressure remains constant. However, when walking about, the pressure shifts to and from different areas of the foot because the same muscles aren’t working all the time. Tired, achy feet are normal after standing all day but if feet hurt in one particular area after a long shift, it may indicate a need for more foot support.
Foot and leg swelling is a common consequence of working on the feet all day Foot care specialist Tamika Saunders, owner of Priority Feet in Grayson, Georgia, suggests nurses also take time after work to soak their feet in warm water with Epsom salt for about 10 to 15 minutes to loosen tight muscles, which can decrease inflammation and soreness. Although spending time and money on proper foot care may seem like a low priority compared to other daily demands, nurses like Saunders have seen the ramifications of neglecting this part of the body. “We learn to take care of our eyes, our teeth, our hypertension, but we rarely take care of our feet until something serious develops,” she said. “If nurses start focusing more on foot care, there are ways to alleviate pain that we have become accustomed to living with on a daily basis.”
2. Keep Blood Flowing
According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), working in a standing position on a regular basis can lead not only to fatigue and lower back pain but can also cause other health problems such as sore feet, swollen legs and varicose veins. These are common complaints among Nurses whose jobs require them to stand for long periods during a shift and can often be remedied with enhanced blood flow.
A good starting point to increase blood flow and alleviate these problems is to wear knee-high compression socks. The compression of the socks pushes on the veins and in turn produces more blood flow. Nurses often use socks that are 15-20 mmHG (millimeters of Mercury). Higher levels of pressure may be uncomfortable and lower levels may not prevent swelling. For comparative context, the average pair of panty hose that women wear carry an 8-10 mmHG rating. Nurses who wear compression socks will feel better at the end of the day and will reduce the swelling in their lower extremities as well as decrease their risk of acquiring varicose veins (Nurse.com).
Once a shift is over, put your feet up and let the body relax. Like compression socks, elevating feet at the end of a shift (or whenever possible) helps recirculate blood that has pooled in the lower legs and return it to the heart and throughout the body.
3. Focus on Footwear
Of all the things nurses can do to care for their feet, wearing high-quality, comfortable shoes is the most important important (Pain Resource). Grueling 12-hour shifts seem to go by in a snap when you’re wearing the right shoes. You may be surprised to learn that supportive footwear does more than just help keep your feet from getting tired and sore. It also supports the rest of the body, especially lower back, knees, and ankles.
Wearing the wrong shoes while at work can either aggravate existing ailments or cause new ones (i.e. fatigue, foot pain, back pain). Shoes that do not provide adequate support can harm foot arches and, in turn, affect the back. Often a well-designed orthotic shoe insert that supports proper alignment can help prevent back pain.
4. Take Proactive Steps
Nurses should be fitted for new shoes or orthopedic insoles every year and two pairs are a must, so they can be rotated between shifts. Because a nurse’s shoes and insoles are subjected to so much wear and tear, they’ll need replacing every 3-6 months. (EveryNurse.Org)
The best orthotics for foot pain provide cushioning to relieve walking and standing pressures, as well as arch support that lifts the foot into proper alignment with ankles, knees, hips, and back. Also look for cushioned arch support insoles that will return energy to feet with each step you take throughout a shift, no matter how long it is.
When nurses are suffering from pain and fatigue, they may be less energetic and productive. Not only does morale take a hit but, it may also lead to lost-time injuries. Thankfully, solutions exist today that can reduce the impact of a tough work environment on nurses' feet. A high-quality insole foot-bed is the answer to reducing pressure and discomfort, and can make a world of difference in how feet feel.
Adjustable Arch Lifting Support
Proper foot alignment is critical to relieving foot and joint pain, as well as preventing future issues for nurses on their feet all day. That’s why we created SelectFlex insoles with the first truly adjustable arch that molds to each individual foot shape. No two feet are alike yet, most over-the-counter insoles are “one size fits all.” A key benefit of SelectFlex insoles is they provide three adjustable arch height and comfort settings to dynamically realign feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back into optimal position for maximum comfort and support all day long. (EHS Daily Advisor).
These 4 tips offer an arsenal of pain-fighting, energy rejuvenating tools for healthier feet. When feet feel fine, it’s much easier to keep up with call-lights, doctor’s orders, tests or emergencies, and get through long days on the job. Nurses—take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you—so you can care for everyone else.