If you’re on your feet often, you know how quickly foot pain can turn into leg pain and how leg pain can turn into excruciating hip and back pain. Nurses are some of the many workers who know this pain well yet don’t often know how to care for their legs and feet. So whether you’re a health-care worker or someone who wants to mitigate some of that muscle and joint pain, here’s a nurse’s guide to taking care of your feet and legs.
Believe it or not, proper posture isn’t just for sitting. When discussing walking posture, it’s critical to understand the gait cycle and the kinetic chain as well as how your weight distribution affects every aspect of your lower body.
Your heel should strike the ground first before your foot takes the full weight of your body and lifts off. If you’re slamming your whole foot into the ground, that will send a lot of impact force through and up your leg, causing a lot of pain.
In addition, your back and neck should be completely straight, with your shoulders relaxed and your head held high. They don’t say keep your chin up for nothing!
Nurses are probably the most familiar with compressions socks, as you’d be hard-pressed to find a health-care worker without them. Compressions stockings aren’t just for people with vascular conditions. They help improve blood flow and prevent varicose veins. However, if you stand a lot, you should know that being on your feet too much can cause serious clotting.
The Right Shoes
When humans first evolved, they knew only how to walk on soil and uneven terrain. Now that most people walk on flat ground, the walking cycle that we’ve developed isn’t as useful anymore, and evolution hasn’t caught up yet. The right shoes should take the blow off your heel strike and protect your joints.
Massaging and releasing that built-up tension in your feet and legs consistently will benefit you in the long run. You can do this with lotion or muscle balm or purchase an at-home foot spa. You’ll also want to trim long nails and cut back callouses to make sure your feet fit correctly in your shoes.
In addition, raising your legs during sleep can improve blood flow and relax the muscles. And if you can, treat yourself to a professional massage every once in a while. Your body and health come first, and no one can do their job well if they’re in pain all the time.
Now that you have a nurse’s guide to taking care of your feet and legs, you can better care for your body and keep it moving longer. So whether you’re a nurse, athlete, warehouse worker, or flight attendant, remember that your body comes first, and there’s no better day than today to start taking care of it!