Home / Work Wellness

Work Wellness

4 FOOT HEALTH TIPS FOR NURSES

 

 

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.

FOLLOW US

CORONAVIRUS EFFECTS ON THE VALUE OF CORPORATE WELLNESS AND IMPROVING WORKPLACE PRODUCTIVITY

SelectFlex is dedicating this Blog Article to the @Global Giving Coronavirus Relief Fund, which supports recovery in vulnerable communities during one of the most challenging times we have collectively faced. SelectFlex is doing our part by donating 10% of every purchase, so don’t forget to use code GLOBALGIVING at checkout!

How many times have we heard people ask, ‘What’s your return on investment on that project’ or ‘How much are we going to make and will it be profitable’? The principle of a return on investment (ROI) is to ensure that your investment receives the same amount of money back – or even more. From the prism of corporate wellness, when we invest in our workers we are also investing in our return. This is even more important in today’s world as much of the ongoing workforce is exposed to the Coronavirus. Keeping our workforce in the best shape possible, with the strongest immune systems, entails addressing their needs from the top of their heads to the tips of their toes.

As it relates to the tips of the toes, without proper foot support and shock absorption, workers who walk or stand for long periods of time during their workday are susceptible to pain and harmful musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that can have lasting effects on the body (ErgoPlus). Just as steel-toe footwear is often required as personal protective equipment for workers, insoles are essential for preventing pain and fatigue. Aches and pains in the body associated with foot issues can also impact workers’ knees and back. Understandably, this can result in reduced employee work productivity, absenteeism or, in terms of individual employee efficiency, a less than optimal return on your investment.

Poor Foot Support Can Cost Employers Big $$$$

Employees who work on their feet everyday are at higher risk of MSDs. Physical work requirements within manufacturing, construction, healthcare, transportation, and similar industries include prolonged standing, static postures, overexertion, and repetitive motion, which can lead to aches, pain, and injuries on the job. Standing five hours a day contributes to significant and prolonged lower-limb muscle fatigue, raising your risk for long-term back pain and musculoskeletal disorders (WebMD). A recent study in Human Factors details that almost half of all workers worldwide spend more than three-quarters of their workday standing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 60,000 foot injuries per year result in lost work days and the average cost of a lost work day foot injury is $9,600. (Occupational Health & Safety).

Investing In Your Employees Feet = Growing Your Own Bottom Line

Every seven seconds a worker suffers from an injury on the job (Corporate Wellness Magazine.Com)Let’s face it, investing funds into any project certainly comes with a responsibility of understanding the potential for returns. Therefore, ROI is an important aspect of corporate wellness nowadays. Ignoring foot care can escalate many issues with employee health including, but not limited to, soreness of the feet, legs, knees, hips, and lower back, as well as balance issues. The end result is joint and muscle pain throughout the body in addition to overall fatigue. These problems are especially acute when the work environment includes hard surfaces, which are common in many workplaces both indoors and outdoors.

When employees are suffering from pain and fatigue, they are less energetic and less productive. Not only does morale take a hit but pain may also lead to lost-time injuries. Thankfully, solutions exist today that can reduce the negative impact of the work environment on employees' feet.

Insoles vs. Matting

Organizations usually consider two options to reduce employee pain and fatigue. Insoles and floor matting. Insoles offer numerous advantages compared to anti-fatigue mats, including easier installation, reduced costs, and the ability to protect mobile workers. However, there are numerous types of insoles available and workers require different insoles to address various levels of comfort and support for different job functions.

Personal insoles offer flexibility to both employees and organizations, making them an attractive solution (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety). These benefits include:

  • Ability to wear anywhere. Insoles can be implemented instantly without training and go wherever the worker goes. This makes them an ideal solution for both stationary and mobile workers who work both indoors and outdoors.

  • Personalized comfort. Employees can select the type of insole that best matches their needs, allowing for personalized comfort based on their size, foot characteristics, and arch type.

  • Direct contact with the body. As insoles are placed inside the footwear, they provide an ergonomic solution 100% of the time.

  • Reduced risk. Insoles reduce the risks of slips, trips, and falls by increasing balance, making the workplace safer and lowering expenses related to workers’ compensation claims. With matting, the edges could curl up and create tripping hazards.

  • Easy to implement. Insole programs are simple to implement, particularly if you have conducted a wear trial with a key group of employees first.

  • Cost effective. Insoles are more affordable than floor matting. Quality insoles can also stand the test of time, resulting in infrequent replacement.

Choosing the Correct Insole for Each Individual

To select the right insole for each employee, it's essential to determine what is needed most—shock absorption, support, or addressing pre-existing foot conditions.  Finding an insole that offers customizable comfort options allows companies to offer a solution for workers in any environment.

Insoles that provide shock absorption can be used to prevent health and pain issues, while those that provide more support can move the foot into the correct neutral position and realign it with other body parts. Insoles that are designed to properly support arches are not the same as insoles that are formed to the exact shape of one’s foot.  Heat-molding orthotic devices do not have a measurable effect on the biomechanical variables compared to the non-molded condition, because they’re not firm enough to provide corrective support (Journal of Foot & Ankle Research). Most importantly, these types of insoles reinforce the incorrect arch that's already causing foot pain and don’t offer pronation control.

Investing in your employees’ health, especially as it relates to workers on their feet all day, will pay immeasurable dividends. Not only will there be quantifiable benefits to the bottom line in the form of more productive and efficient employees, but priceless benefits achieved when employees are happier and healthier as well.

FOLLOW US

KEEPING YOUR FEET HEALTHY WHILE AT WORK

KEEPING YOUR FEET HEALTHY WHILE AT WORK

 

Our feet do the grunt work by supporting our entire bodies every day. They carry us from place to place, from infancy through adulthood, covering upwards of 100,000 miles in our lifetime (Moonwalkers.com).  During a normal work day, depending upon the work you perform, the average steps you take can be as little as 6,600 and as high as 22,800.  An office worker averages 7,500 steps per day while a waiter / waitress tops the list at nearly 23,000.  Nurses, retail workers, farmers, teachers and Tradespeople are all well over 10,000 steps per day, reflecting the need to make sure our feet are well taken care of (Healthline.com-Average Steps by Occupation).  Our feet are the very foundation for our bodies but are typically ignored until there’s a problem. Once there’s a problem, it can affect our entire body’s overall health. Since our feet work so hard for us, why don’t we take care of them before any problems begin?  Let’s go over some ways we can care for our feet and keep them healthy as they carry us through both our workday and life

Take the Time to Evaluate Your Footwear

Wearing shoes with little to no arch support can wreak havoc on your body. Not only does a good supportive shoe provide a steady foundation and balance, but it also contributes to your overall activity level. Your arch comes under the most strain as you stand and walk. Without support, you may experience back pain, foot pain, and even headaches or stomach aches.

Your shoes need to match the demands of your work, but they also need to match the individual biomechanics of your feet and gait. Understanding the needs of your foot mechanics first will help you select footwear that works well for your feet and your work.

If you are in a work environment that that requires you to be on your feet most of the day such as construction, delivery personnel, beautician or manufacturing shop floor, it is imperative to maintain proper arch support as well as maintaining overall foot comfort.  Without proper arch support, you could ultimately be causing improper balance on your lower extremities leading to lower back pain and sore & fatigued legs and feet (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety).

Even in a corporate setting, it can be challenging to find proper footwear when you work at a desk.  Slip on shoes and moccasins provide the least amount of support.  If you can wear a shoe with laces at work, choose one with multiple eyelets. The more a shoe has, the more it can conform to the shape of your foot, providing the best support.

Consider Using Footwear’s Little Helper (shoe inserts)

The mechanics of your feet may warrant the need for additional support. This may come in the form of over-the-counter arch supports or custom foot orthotics depending on your needs.  Purchasing a good shoe insert is imperative to make even the least supportive shoes more foot health-friendly.

If you stand for longer than 5 hours a day at your job, you should especially consider orthotic inserts (Commercial Construction Mag). By standing that amount of time, it places greater strain on your feet and can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury to the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a broad ligament on the base of your foot which extends from your heel to the base of your toes.

The Wonders of Compression Socks

When you stand for long periods of time, blood pools in your feet and ankles. This causes them to swell and become uncomfortable. Compression socks are designed to help push blood up the legs, towards the heart and back into circulation. This helps increase the efficiency of blood circulation in your feet and legs.

Alternate Your Footwear

Over time, our shoes lose their ability to absorb shock as well as they once did when they were new. This means that our feet and joints must instead take on the extra shock that our new shoes used to provide.

If possible, avoid wearing the same pair of shoes to work each day. By alternating footwear every day, you will increase the amount of cushioning recovery in the midsoles of your shoes and lengthen their overall lifespan.

Practice Stretches Throughout The Day

Use a massage ball to perform performing foot and leg stretches throughout the day. They are great for massaging the tissue in your feet throughout the day, which can help reduce fatigue and promotes circulation (Natural Footgear).

Simply roll the ball under your feet back and forth along the arches. This will help to alleviate tension in the muscles and fascia. You can use your coffee breaks and lunch breaks to stretch your feet and calves.

Moisturize

There are plenty of lotions and creams out there that are touted as the best for your feet. Any of them will do. The real trick to moisturizing your feet is to make sure you are first exfoliating. Get rid of any dead skin cells so that your dry feet will be ready to receive new moisture.

You can use a simple washcloth after soaking your feet, or a loofah or pumice stone for those extra dry, callused areas. Adding some Epsom salt to your bath can help soften the skin on your feet, making it easier to remove any dead skin.

Follow your exfoliation with a lotion or petroleum jelly to seal in moisture. Most of all, be consistent. Your feet crave moisture daily. Make sure your body is also hydrated from the inside by drinking plenty of water and eating a diet rich in Omega fatty acids.