If you’re a nurse or healthcare worker, you work longer hours than most people. And, often, without a long break. After running back and forth for the whole shift, you’d probably go home with sore feet.
Your feet and legs are essential parts of your body and require special care. These five simple suggestions will help your feet remain healthy and keep you going when your patients need you the most.
1 - STRETCHING
Stretching is an essential part of our exercise routines. Well, if you work with your feet, proper stretching is also crucial to improve their strength and flexibility and keep them healthy.
To adequately stretch your feet, perform the following exercise at least three times a day:
- Stand with your toes on a step and your heels off the edge.
- Slowly lower your heels down and hold for 10 seconds before lifting them back to the starting position.
- Repeat this process five to ten times. Don't force your heel farther than it wants to go. If the movement is too much for both feet at once, do one foot at a time.
2 - WEAR THE RIGHT SHOE SIZE
Wearing the right shoe size helps your lower back, knees, and ankles.
How do you know your shoes are the right size? Measure your feet every two years. It's common for a person to have feet of different sizes. Make sure to have both feet measured and fit to the larger of the two. There should be about half an inch of wiggle room between your longest toe and the shoe.
Additionally, shop for shoes in the afternoon since your feet swell over the day. Also, wear the socks you'd typically use with that type of shoe — which should be a compression sock. When you find the right shoe, buying two pairs is a must. That way, you can rotate them between shifts.
Nurse's shoes get so much wear and tear: you'll probably have to replace them every 3-6 months.
3 - PUT YOUR FEET UP AND SOAK THEM
Elevating your feet every day is good for your veins and blood circulation, and mitigates swelling. Elevate your feet for 15-20 minutes every day, and if you can, do it more than once.
For some of the same purposes and also relaxing your feet, try soaking them in warm water with Epsom salts whenever you have the chance. A warm, wet towel wrapped around your feet and legs also works.
4 - GET HYDRATED AND EAT THE RIGHT NUTRIENTS
In addition to the pain caused by standing for long hours, being dehydrated can cause your feet to cramp. Also, cramping can be caused by a lack of potassium, so make sure you regularly eat foods rich in it, like bananas or spinach.
Your whole body needs proper hydration and the correct nutrients, and your feet are certainly no exception. Drink plenty of fluids throughout your day — we know it might get busy out there, but try to make time for it.
5 - IMPROVE BLOOD CIRCULATION IN YOUR LEGS AND FEET
Compression socks alleviate leg fatigue (also known as "heavy legs feeling") by helping to move the blood from your feet to your legs, and back to your heart.
Earlier in this guide, we mentioned the importance of wearing the right shoe size while working. That's important! However, using the right socks (compression socks), while often overlooked, is just as crucial.