Foot and Leg Self-Care for Nurses
Long, grueling shifts are hard on nurses’ legs and feet. Nurses know the discomfort that can come from being on their feet constantly throughout a 12-hour shift, and it’s no surprise that nurses are prone to leg and foot issues. Sores, calluses, bunions, blood clotting, and chronic back pain are just a few of the common issues they face.
While there’s often nothing nurses can do to change the demanding pace of their shift, there are things they can do to better protect and care for their feet. Here are a few tips to help nurses stay pain and injury-free throughout their careers.
Wear Supportive Shoes
A comfortable and supportive shoe is one of the best things nurses can do to reduce foot and leg issues. When selecting shoes, it’s important to make sure that the shoe fits correctly and provides adequate support. Nursing shoes are a good option, as they’re specifically designed with nurses in mind. Nursing clogs, which are designed to reduce pain at the foot and ankle, have become increasingly popular, as have nursing sneakers, which offer excellent support and provide a slip-resistant sole.
When considering shoes, it’s a good idea to have at least two pairs that you rotate between. Additionally, pay attention to the wear and tear on your shoes and make sure that you’re replacing them when needed. Plus, getting professional help with fitting and insoles can help to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your shoes.
Wear Compression Shocks
Wearing comfortable and effective compression socks is also essential for nurses. Compression socks offer graduated compression, meaning that they’re tight at the feet and loose as they go up the leg.
Besides being comfortable, they prevent blood clots by improving blood flow. Additionally, because they help with circulation, compression socks reduce pain, tingling, numbness, cramps, and throbbing. And the good news is that there are now lots of bright and fun compression socks available to make them more fun to wear every day.
Develop a Pre- and Post-Shift Routine
It’s hard to think about a pre- or post-shift routine when you’re either rushing to get to a shift or exhausted after one. That said, developing some routines will help to reduce leg and foot pain and prevent injuries. Stretching before and after a shift can help to reduce stiffness, loosen muscles and improve blood flow. In addition to the full stretching you do before and after shifts, try to incorporate stretching into your day as much as possible.
Adding a quick foot and leg massage to your post-shift routine will further help to improve blood flow and reduce soreness. Using a simple muscle-ball roller, or even just a tennis ball, can help to care for your feet and legs after a long day.
Whenever possible, soaking your feet in warm water and Epsom salt will not only be a relaxing way to end the day but will also reduce any swelling and inflammation. Similarly, elevating your feet at the end of the day is another important way to reduce inflammation. You can even add some ice when you’re elevating your feet for additional benefits.
Focus on Good Nutrition and Hydration
Having good nutrition and staying hydrated will help to avoid carrying extra weight, improve your overall health, and reduce the likelihood of cramps. Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of caring for your feet and legs in the short and long-term. Additionally, staying hydrated and eating potassium-rich foods will help to avoid cramps and inflammation during a shift.
It can be hard to eat well before, during, and after long and exhausting days. However, plan ahead for meals and snacks and make sure you have a water bottle so that you can drink enough throughout the day.
Nurses are on their feet all day for long and demanding shifts. This is not only exhausting and painful, but it can lead to injuries and even chronic pain. To reduce the risks of pain and injury, it’s important that nurses proactively care for their feet and legs.
Compression socks are one of the best things nurses can do for their legs and feet. Start taking better care of yourself today by ordering a pair of Crazy Compression’s comfortable, effective, and fun compression socks.