Why the Right Footwear Can be a Home Health Nurse’s Best Friend

Nurses in hospitals work multiple hours on long shifts over a three- or four-day period, and sometimes more than that. They have learned that having the right footwear can make the difference between being tired with aching feet, or gliding through shifts with comfortable feet. It is no less important for a home health nurse or health aide to have the right shoes. Many home healthcare nurses work hours that are just as long as a nurse at a medical facility. Twelve-hour days are not unusual for a home healthcare nurse with numerous patients; they are on their feet the entire time, except when they are traveling from location to location. If the shoes worn by nurses had an equivalent in cars, they would have over one hundred thousand miles on them. You wouldn’t go that far on the same pair of old tires. Here are some tips about footwear in nursing and how they can benefit you.

Don’t Go Formal

While looking you best is admirable, but when it comes to the shoes, a home health nurse wears it can be trouble. If you have been wearing high heels as you go from home to home, you are putting your feet through undue strain. All that pressure on the ball of your foot from a high heel will cause problems with the joints in the ball of your foot. An excruciating condition known as metatarsalgia is caused by pressure on the ball of your foot. Another common problem from wearing heels is plantar fasciitis. This condition causes chronic soreness in the arch of your foot, so the best policy is no heels as you nurse. Male nurses should also avoid dress shoes because the heel can cause similar issues, just to a lesser extent.

A Nurse is an Athlete

With all the walking, lifting, pushing, pulling, and other physical activities a nurse does on a daily basis is akin to being an athlete. Why then, if nursing is an athletic activity, would you not wear athletic shoes? Shoes such as running shoes or cross trainers are ideal for a nurse. Some nurses opt for clogs or Crocs, while comfortable and padded, each shoe can be slipped out of easily by design; which means you can accidentally slip out of them while helping a patient from their bed to a wheelchair or while helping a patient with physical therapy. Lace up running shoes, and cross trainers are both comfortable and provide the needed security to keep a mishap from occurring.
Try on your athletic shoes before purchasing them, don’t order them over the internet. You will want to get a feel for how the shoe supports or doesn’t support the different parts of your foot.

Replace Your Shoes on a Regular Basis

Our tire analogy earlier in this post is relevant here, tires have a certain amount of miles they can last and so to sneakers. There is no specific amount of steps that wear out a shoe, but the rule of thumb when it comes to being on your feet as a home health nurse is to change them out every six months. If your shoes are too flexible (if the toe bends easily towards the heal while laced) it may be time for them to go before six months. If your shoes still feel good after six months, you can slowly phase them out by buying a second pair of shoes and rotating the days you wear them. This practice may extend your shoes past six months, and you won’t be caught flat-footed (pardon the pun) when they finally wear out.

Final Thoughts

In addition to the right footwear, your weight can have a significant impact on the condition of your feet. If you are overweight, losing a few pounds can help relieve some of your foot pain. If your feet are still in pain after you switch shoes due to your old ones, try soaking them in Epson salts. Try soaking them for 15 to 20 minutes. The salts will draw out excess fluid and lactic acid that is irritating your feet.
With a little attention paid to your shoes, your home health nursing workday can become a lot less difficult to endure.