You are a nurse, so no one has to tell you what longs shifts do to your feet. The average person walks 75,000 miles by the age of 50, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. Now triple that number for a travel nurse.
It’s up to you learn how to keep your feet healthy, so you can focus on patient care and quality of life instead of aching arches and painful blisters. Here are five tips that will help get you there.
1. About Those Shoes
Really, isn’t that where it all starts? Proper footwear means good arch support, lots of toe space and a tread that helps keep you secure as you move from patient to patient. Nurses need shoes that are both comfortable and practical. When you find a style that works for you, write the name down and stick with it.
Make sure to match your shoe choice with your activity, as well. Your work shoes are for work, not for jogging.
2. Making Smart Sock Choices
Your sock choice is almost as important as the right footwear. Socks are a tool to wick moisture away from sweaty feet. Some have extra padding around the balls of the feet, some have arch compression. No two people need the exact same kind of sock. You should pick a design based on your needs.
Compression socks are a practical choice for nurses. These are not the stockings used after surgery, just socks that are snug enough to support the calf and ankles.
3. Support Those Arches
When you walk, your arches bear most of the burden. Without proper arch support, you risk injuries such as overpronation that leads to:
- Shin splints
- Anterior compartment syndrome
- Plantar fascilitis
- Achilles tendonitis
Get to know your arch, so you can make an educated choice for arch support. Stand in front of a mirror and look for to see if you arches are flat or over extended. If so, see a specialist to get proper orthopedic support. If your arches are low, look for shoes that offer motion control for added stability. If they are high, add extra cushioning to keep from straining them.
4. Put Them Up
Look for opportunities to elevate your feet whenever possible. This takes much of the pressure off and improves your circulation. When elevation is not possible, stretch your foot to get the blood flowing.
5. Pamper, Pamper, Pamper
Your feet work hard for you, so reward them appropriately. Splurge a little for the occasional pedicure. Moisturize them regularly and if you are headed for the beach, make sure to protect them with sunscreen.
Awareness is the best way to keep your feet healthy. Don’t ignore foot pain. If they hurt, figure out why and find a solution.