In the UK, nurses can spend up to 12 hours a shift on their feet. Rushing between wards and dealing with any number of emergencies, this is exhausting to say the least. Apart from draining energy, though, it can also have some serious consequences for their health. Here’s our summary of these health implications, and how you can mitigate them with the best insoles for nurses and a regular regime of stretching.
What are the effects of standing up for long periods of time?
The health risks of sitting down all day are well known, but those of being up and about aren’t as widely recognised. Standing up and walking all day, especially in a hospital environment, can cause a number of lower body problems – from muscular fatigue to joint compression. Here are some of the most common conditions resulting from prolonged standing and walking during a normal hospital shift:
Insoles for nurses
All of the above conditions are caused by excessive, repetitive pressure placed on specific muscles and joints on the lower half of the body. Given that nurses are on their feet for so long during their working hours, these conditions are fairly common.
The easiest way to decrease the amount of pressure felt on lower body muscles and joints is by wearing appropriate footwear. Having the right footwear means that regardless of whether you’re under or over pronated, you’re not placing too much stress on your hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
Make sure to pick the right style of shoe to fit your foot type, and then add insoles. Insoles, such as those made by Enertor, can further reduce the pressure felt on joints and tendons by 40% – this could be the difference between collapsing into a heap after your shift and leaving the ward with a spring in your step.
Tips for nurses to avoid injury
Getting your footwear sorted will go a long way to helping you avoid aches, pains, and strains in the lower body, but there are some other steps you can take to further reduce the risk. These are:
- Stretch – Keep your muscles limber and less prone to straining by following a regular stretching regime (even one intended for runners!).
- Switch your position – You shouldn’t be spending more than half of your shift either sitting, standing, or walking. Regularly change positions to promote good circulation in your lower body and avoid your muscles tightening up.
- Check the floor – The surface you’re walking on during your shift can have a significant impact on how much pressure you feel on your legs and feet. Walking on hard surfaces like concrete or tiles can exert excessive pressure on your lower body and increase the likelihood of injury. This risk can be minimised by placing weight-bearing, secure mats made of rubber in key areas of a hospital.
Caught up in dealing with the health problems of others, nurses can often neglect their own. Hospital shifts are long and put enormous strain on the legs and feet of nurses, which can lead to various physical health conditions. By selecting the right footwear and being mindful whilst on the wards, nurses can minimise their risk of falling prey to aches and pains.