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5 Tips for Nurses Suffering from Aching, Swollen Feet

April 25, 2014

As a nurse, your feet are one of the hardest working parts on your body. You log numerous miles of walking during a week of 12-hour shifts. Aching feet can impact your ability to give your patients your all. In fact, MEDSURG Nursing published a study in 2012 that indicated foot trouble for nurses negatively affects patient care in a measurable way. With these five tips on how to relieve foot pain, you can keep your feet in good working order so you can continue to give your best to your patients.

1. Get the Right Footwear

A nurse's shoes get a lot of wear. Find a pair of supportive shoes, and then buy two of them so you can rotate them. Plan to replace your shoes at least every six months. For the best results when you shop for new shoes, try them on late in the day when your feet are more swollen to ensure they will fit well at all times of your day.

2. Give Them a Soak

Soaking your feet in Epsom salts has long been a cure for the burning, pain and swelling associated with neuropathy, but it can help with your aching and swollen feet as well. The salts remove some of the fluid, lactic acid and other waste products that lead to swelling at the end of a long day. The warm water and the magnesium in the salt can also alleviate pain in those overworked ligaments and muscles. As an added bonus, a nightly soak will give you a chance to really relax after your busy day.

3. Stretch Your Feet

Your feet need to be stretched before they are used just like any other body part you are going to be exercising. To stretch your feet, lie down on your back and lift up a leg at a 90-degree angle. Point and flex your foot through its full range of motion. Repeat this 25 times at least twice a week.

Another way to stretch your feet is to place a towel around the ball of your foot and then pull it gently towards your body. Repeat this stretch four or five times, holding the stretch for 30 seconds.

4. Drink Enough Water

As a nurse, it's tempting to skip the water while you are on shift in order to avoid bathroom breaks. Yet when you don't drink enough water, you will get more swollen. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day.

5. Get a Pedicure

A pedicure will make your toenails look beautiful, but the Mayo Clinic indicates a light massage can help ease pain and swelling as well. The soaking and massage included with a good pedicure will help relax tight muscles and draw out toxins and waste from swollen, achy feet. As an added bonus, you will have to sit and relax for at least 20 minutes while you let someone else pamper you after caring for patients all day.

Nursing is a fast-paced, sometimes stressful job, and your feet take the brunt of that stress. Before you head out on your next nursing position from Fastaff, make sure you learn how to relieve foot pain. Have a plan for dealing with tired, achy feet, so you can put your best foot forward each and every day.

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