If you’re one of the many people who spend a good majority of their days on their feet like nurses often do, it can lead to serious painful injuries in your back, toes, heels, knees, and ankles. It can also lead to poor posture, inadequate support for the body, and overall alignment issues. You have 26 bones and more than 100 ligaments, tendons, and muscles in each foot, so it’s no wonder that being on your feet all day affects so much! But what exactly happens when those bones, ligament, muscles, and tendons work so hard all day?
- Circulation to your feet slows down. This happens thanks to gravity. Your circulatory system works hard to pump blood up from your feet back to your heart, and it’ll all slow down as the day goes on. Your body gets tired. Additional contributors to this include injury, inactivity, pressure from being overweight, a lack of sleep, and others.
- Blood vessels begin to swell. When the circulation to and from your feet slows down, more blood is going to get “stuck” down in your lower extremities (again, thanks to gravity). Blood begins to pool in the blood vessels along your toes, heels, and ankles, which in turn causes the next effect of being on your feet all day: visibly swollen lower limbs.
- Your feet, ankles, and calves become swollen. When enough blood and fluid collect in the feet and legs, the skin will feel uncomfortably tight, and sometimes everything will feel so heavy from the waist down, making it more difficult to move them – you might even feel like there is “jelly” moving around in your ankles as you take steps, which is uncomfortable and distracting.
- Skin changes on your feet can appear. These can include calluses, blisters, bunions, and other sores that lead to soreness, stiffness, and pain. These can all be caused by being on your feet all day with shoes that don’t fit properly. During the day, feet can swell by a good half-size or more, so if you find you’re battling blisters and calluses often, you may want to try a different, more supportive, larger pair of shoes.
- Internal malformities and inflammation can erupt. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common issues for nurses and other people who are on their feet all day. This condition is characterized by painful inflammation of the band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, along with heel pain. Hammertoe is a painful deformity of the big toe that can occur when toe muscles become weak, putting pressure on the tendons and joints of other toes to compensate. This causes the big toe to painfully stick up at the joint. Other painful conditions that can occur include Morton’s neuroma, Achilles tendonitis, and others.
One of the best things you can do to help your feet make it through long days is to wear proper nurses footwear, or nurse shoes. Unfortunately, many people, whether they be athletes, office managers, nurses, or anyone else, don’t pay enough attention to their hard-working feet until there is a problem. Preventing foot problems can keep you in top health and able to function as you should, whether it’s at work, at home, at the gym, or anywhere else.