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3 Foot Care Tips For Nurses

by Rene Mitchelle

Nursing isn't an easy job. It's a profession that takes a toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. A long day walking the halls of a hospital or nursing home can leave you with both body aches and heart aches. But it's easy to overlook one of the biggest physical strains that nurses experience – the strain on your feet. Foot pain is often taken as a normal hazard of the job, but the truth is, persistent foot pain isn't normal. A survey evaluating the prevalence of foot and ankle musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in nurses showed that foot and ankle MSDs were the most common conditions experienced by nurses. Take a look at some foot care tips that every nurse should know about.

Toenail Tending

The conditions that your feet are in can make you unusually prone to ingrown toenails. Nurses often work 12 to 16 hour shifts in closed toed shoes and hot conditions. Your toenails react to the environment by growing incorrectly.

You can prevent ingrown toenails by making sure to keep your feet clean and even more importantly, dry – don't jam them into shoes and socks after a shower without making sure that you've dried them thoroughly first. When you get home, take your shoes off – give your feet time to air out and breathe. Treat yourself to regular pedicures to keep the nails in good shape. Ask your pedicurist for a runner's pedicure – this is a style of pedicure that involves trimming the nails slightly shorter than normal, and in a shape that discourages ingrowth.

Callus Care

Most nursing jobs require nearly constant walking. You're heading up and down the halls pushing a medicine cart, rushing to answer call bells, supporting an unsteady patient while they ambulate, pushing wheelchairs, and fetching doctors. Under these conditions, calluses are unavoidable. To some extent, calluses can even be a good thing – they prevent your shoes and socks from rubbing on tender and raw skin.

However, calluses can also begin to grow out of control, so it's important to keep them contained. Don't cut your calluses off, and never allow anyone else to do so. This can lead to nasty infections. Use a pumice stone to remove excess growth and lotion to prevent your skin from hardening and developing painful cracks that can bleed or become infected.

Shoe Scoop

Your job exerts constant pressure on your feet. It's not just the endless walking that you have to think about. Every time you lift, transfer, or support a patient, your body is bearing their weigh in addition to your own. And though you might feel it in your neck or back first, all of that weight results in intense pressure in your feet. You need shoes that will provide you with comfort and enough support to help you manage all of that pressure. A good pair of nursing shoes is one of the most important things that a nurse can buy for their health.

A good pair of nursing shoes is lightweight enough so that your feet aren't suffocating inside of them, and they have the arch and posture support that you need to protect your feet and your legs from repetitive stress injury. Ideal nursing shoes should also have slip prevention soles, as slips and trips on slick floors are a common hazard for nurses. And of course, the shoes should simply feel comfortable. One more important thing that you may not know is that nursing shoes should be replaced regularly. Even if they look fine, the arch support in your shoes will begin to break down after around six months of heavy use, so you should replace your nursing shoes at least that often. Check out vendors like Alegria Shoe Shop

You're performing a valuable job, and you deserve to stay pain-free while you do it. Taking good care of your feet and choosing the right shoes will help you continue to perform at work without undue pain.