For nurses and hospital staff, a 12-hour shift is not uncommon and studies show that, during a normal night shift, a nurse can walk around five miles. Spending a large amount of time on your feet, whether standing or moving around, can result in some significant discomfort and health issues. So how can you combat this?
Best foot forward
It may be stating the obvious but, one of the issues which can occur when standing or walking for long periods of time is foot and leg pain. Seasoned nurses and medical staff have a number of tips and tricks which they use to reduce foot and leg pain and, these include:
- Compression socks – These humble items can reduce discomfort considerably by improving the flow of oxygen and blood to legs and feet and are fairly inexpensive to buy.
- Toenails – An easy and simple hack for comfortable feet is to ensure that your toenails are trimmed, making shoes fit better and making them more comfortable.
- Weight – Maintaining a healthy body can help reduce the pressure on the feet and legs and prevent pain and discomfort.
Posture for protecting against pain
Posture is crucial when working on your feet for a long time. When we’re tired, we tend to slouch and, while this is only natural, it can have a negative impact on our health. To prevent pain and conditions such as osteoporosis, try adjusting your posture as follows:
- When standing, the chin should be parallel to the floor or ground where possible.
- Shoulders should remain even, i.e. not holding one shoulder higher than the other.
- The spine should be straight but not rigid.
- Abdominal muscles should be braced.
- Hips, like shoulders, should remain even.
- Body weight should be evenly distributed between both feet.
As well as adhering to the above, you should try to move the whole body occasionally rather than keeping a rigid stance for a period of time.
It stands to reason that being on your feet for hours at a time will lead to fatigue but, there are a few ways that you can combat this, including:
- Keep moving – When we stand still for long periods of time, the blood tends to pool in the feet which can lead to pain and discomfort. Where possible, moving around will help to keep the blood flowing and reduce pain.
- Stretch – Performing simple stretching exercises occasionally can help to keep blood and oxygen flowing and keep muscles relaxed to prevent discomfort.
- Check where you’re stood – Standing on hard floors all day can wreak havoc on your joints and cause fatigue in your muscles. Anti-fatigue mats improve blood flow and stimulate small muscles to boost energy and keep workers comfortable.
- Take breaks – While it’s not always possible, taking regular micro-breaks can really help to fight fatigue when working.
- Vitamins – Taking vitamin supplements, particularly B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin and B3 (Niacin) is a great way to prevent fatigue while on the job.
Protecting our health from the ground up
Experts say that humans should spend no more than four hours at a time on our feet so, for those who have no choice but to exceed this, taking some precautions to protect their health is essential. Even simple measures like wearing shoes with cushioned insoles and investing in a few pairs of compression socks can help to reduce comfort and prevent long-term health conditions from developing.