From Accident and Emergency to Cardiology, nurses are the bread and butter of any hospital. The job is incredibly physical, with nurses required to be on their feet for hours on end. This can lead to chronic foot pain which will compromise the smiles of even the bubbliest nurses.
A study published by MEDSURG Nursing revealed just how demanding the job is, estimating the average nurse walks around four to five miles during a single 12-hour shift. So how can nurses combat foot pain? Read on for our guide to preventing foot pain during long shifts.
In any job, foot comfort starts with supportive shoes. Nursing is no exception, which is why we offer a range of ergonomic shoes to meet the unique needs of nurses. Our inhouse design team have worked closely with researchers at the University of Salford to design a range of nursing shoes that offer incredible support. Ultra-durable EVA encloses the foot and actively absorbs shock, while ComfortTech insoles enhance fit and support the arches to prevent foot pain when standing for long periods.
Alternate your footwear
Wearing the same shoes every day can aggravate pressure points and result in repetitive strain injury, which is why it’s a good idea to invest in several different pairs of shoes and rotate through your collection. This gives your feet a chance to “breathe” and prevents any sore spots from flaring up. Plus, you’ll then have a backup pair in case of emergency.
Stretch and roll
While it can be hard to find the time for foot-specific exercises it’s definitely worth doing. There’s no need for heart-pumping cardio here. Instead take a few minutes to stretch out your hamstrings, do some ankle rolls and bend your knees after a long shift. Taking a few steps on your toes and heels can also help to stretch out your feet and relieve tension. This all helps to prevent your muscles from locking up and will also build strength and endurance to prevent foot pain developing in future.
Take a soak
Just clocked off after a hard week at the hospital or clinic? Soaking your feet in Epsom salts is not only incredibly relaxing, but it can also help to relieve inflammation and swelling. You can soak your feet in the bath or fill up a tub with hot water and pair your favourite Netflix show with a DIY foot spa. Essential oils like lavender and peppermint can be added to your salts for a luxurious soak.
While foot massages are always a treat, you don’t need to assign the job to a doting partner or a qualified therapist. Rolling your feet on a golf or tennis ball can be an effective way to stretch and soothe tired muscles. After a long day the motion and pressure feels amazing on your soles, arches and heels. If you’re feeling really flash, why not splurge in a home foot spa? While they can seem a little gimmicky, for high-intensity jobs such as nursing, they can actually be an amazing wellness investment. Try shopping around at stores like Boots and Superdrug for some great bargains.
Consider compression socks
Forget the taboos surrounding compression socks. For nurses who spend all day on their feet with no time to rest, these ingenious accessories can work wonders. If you’ve ever arrived home after a long shift and noticed your shoes are too tight or your feet feel swollen and painful, you could be suffering from poor blood circulation. Compression socks are designed to prevent blood from pooling at your extremities and promote blood circulation in the feet and legs, sending it back to the upper body.
Enjoy a break
While the fast-paced environment of hospitals and clinics can sometimes make breaks feel impossible, we encourage all nurses to practice a little self-care and take five when it’s needed. The simple act of sitting down and putting your feet up in the team room can not only support your mental health, but it also offers your body a few moments of relief. Take the term “putting your feet up” literally, as like compression socks, this can help promote blood circulation.
Healthy and nutritious food
If you’re prone to foot pain, be sure to fill your lunchbox with foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Avocadoes are packed with potassium and magnesium, which act as electrolytes and support healthy muscles. Sweet potatoes win points for their high calcium, potassium and magnesium count, all vital minerals that support muscle function.
Drink plenty of water
Another easy fix, drinking plenty of water throughout the day is a great way to stay hydrated and minimise the risk of foot cramps. Keeping a reusable water bottle by your side is an easy way to remember to keep sipping throughout the day. With so many colourful designs to choose from these days, water bottles are also a fun style statement. If you get tired of H20, try adding fruit or sipping a bottle of ice-cold coconut water throughout your shift instead. Not only is coconut water delicious, but it’s also loaded with electrolytes to hydrate you faster.
Helping where we can…
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed nurses to the limit like never before, with many working extra hours and picking up additional shifts in the face of overwhelmed hospitals. The health and wellbeing of our front liners has never been more important, which is why we’re doing everything we can to support British nurses by making long shifts as comfortable and pain-free as possible. Browse our range of ergonomically designed shoes and trainers to find the perfect pair for you.