Nurses provide essential care for millions of people every day. Nursing can take a physical toll, as shifts can last anywhere from eight to 12 hours.
Studies indicate that an average 12-hour day shift requires a nurse to walk about five miles, while a 12-hour night shift will require a nurse to walk roughly three miles. All of that walking eventually can take a toll on the feet.
Nurses can combat foot pain and fatigue in a number of ways.
• Choose supportive shoes. Comfort begins with supportive shoes. Stores sell a range of ergonomic shoes that cater to the unique needs of nurses. Most nursing shoes offer incredible support, actively absorb shock and properly position arches to prevent foot pain when standing for long periods.
• Get the right fit. The right fit also is important when choosing footwear. Wearing shoes that are too small or too big can cause problems. Large shoes lead to blisters, while small shoes can result in bunions, corns and even deformities that may require surgery.
• Wear compression socks. Compression socks can alleviate tired muscles and swollen feet. Prevention magazine says compression socks work to reduce fluid buildup and fatigue in the legs by promoting better blood flow in the veins of the calves and feet. Nurses should begin with lighter compression ratings, although a custom fit and prescription by a doctor is the best way to go about getting compression socks. Nurses also need comfortable, slip-resistant compression socks to move quickly and freely during emergency situations.
• Alternate footwear. Wearing the same shoes each day may lead to the formation of pressure points and can result in repetitive strain. Nurses should invest in more than one pair of supportive shoes and rotate through their collection.
• Get a massage. Foot massages and warm soaks are a treat and often are part of a pedicure. Both can make the feet feel better. Frequently stretching and rolling feet, and running the soles of the feet over a tennis ball can soothe the feet.