Being a nurse is one of the most demanding professions – both physically and emotionally. The long working hours where you are expected to be on your feet for most of your shift definitely take a toll on your body. And your legs are affected by this the most! They endure pain, swelling, soreness, sweat and everything else you throw at them to make you stand on your feet all day long.
Why are Nurses at Risk?
From medical professionals to bartenders to cashiers, the list of professions that demand long-standing hours keeps getting longer. There are many jobs that require covering multiple shifts hours, and the professionals in these fields have to stand without breaks. Nursing is one such profession where professionals are required to cover at least a 12-hour shift, which is quite normal.
According to a 2018 study, every occupation that requires standing for a long period is associated with a twofold risk of heart disease as opposed to jobs that require predominantly sitting. Prolonged standing occupations include risks like increased hydrostatic venous pressure, blood pooling in the lower limbs and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulate in your bloodstream.
Healthcare workers who stand for 90% of their shift have increased ROS. If this goes unchecked, it creates a toxic level for the body cells. High ROS levels are linked to systematic diseases like cancer, chronic venous insufficiency and atherogenesis. Other risks involved due to prolonged standing hours in the nursing profession include:
Plantar fasciitis is an injury caused due to overusing your ligament. This causes small tears in the plantar fascia, which acts as a cantilever for the arch of our feet. While standing or walking, the pressure is put down on the arch, which stretches the ligament. As the pressure begins to come off the arch through retraction, the plantar fascia snaps back in action to keep the arch from collapsing. It causes a stabbing pain in the foot's sole, inflammation and tenderness around the area.
Compression socks can help heal the pain and discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis. They help correct your alignment, control inflammation and muscle damage, and facilitate the healing process.
When the foot experiences friction, the outer layer of the skin separates to form fluid-filled blisters that are common for people who constantly wear shoes and exercise. Nurses can attract blisters as they are always on their feet. The good news is that blisters can commonly heal on their own, but the entire period of dealing with them is painful. However, it is better to prevent them altogether and compression socks are perfect for that!
Heel spur causes an intense bony, reddened and painful bump on your heels. This foot condition happens due to the built-up of calcium lump in the heel. While surgeries and medications are an option, compression socks are also an excellent product to try for relieving pain in mild cases.
Compression socks create pressure on the leg. This increases blood flow and reduces repeated interaction between heels and hard surfaces. However, combining compression socks with OTC medicines and ice packs is only a temporary solution to the stinging pain caused by heel spurs. See a doctor for complete treatment.
Unexpected irritation and pain in your lower legs can happen when your lower leg muscles get pulled due to high-impact activities like dancing or running. This condition is called shin splints because the pain begins through the shin bone, the large bone in your lower leg.
Shin splints occur when you overwork your shinbone and the muscle tissues around it. Nurses who stand for an extended period are prone to shin splints. They heal on their own; however, it takes time. In order to ease the pain and prevent further damage, many people recommend wearing compression socks for shin splints as they support your veins, boost blood circulation and reduce swelling.
Solution - Compression socks!
A study by NCBI has shown that the use of compression stockings among nurses reduces oedema and pain. In fact, the same study shows that the use of compression stockings in healthy adult women also indicates an improvement in lymphatic pump pressure along with a reduction in discomfort, oedema and general leg pain.
Compression socks have the feature to fight multiple problems nurses face. As mentioned earlier, standing for a prolonged period can result in a fluid build-up, leading to pain and inflammation for many. Even the gravity starts working against you, pooling blood in your lower legs and causing circulation problems. This leads to leg problems and drained-out energy at the end of your shift.
But compression socks can prove to be your best care partner during long hours of standing!