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There are few jobs as stressful and physically demanding as being a nurse. Nurses care for patients when they are at their lowest both physically and emotionally, and they do so with the heavy weight of responsibility on their shoulders, as well as the weight of their body pushing down on their feet for 12-hour shifts. This is certainly uncomfortable in the short term but can also lead to complications and health issues over time. This article explores the potential health problems facing nurses at any stage of their career, and how wearing compression socks can help to ease swelling, aching, and the likelihood of varicose veins.
Compression socks, as you might expect, are socks which apply pressure to the feet, ankles, and lower legs. This pressure prevents blood from pooling in the feet and improves circulation in the body.
When we are standing or walking for long periods, lymphatic fluid and blood build up in the feet and lower legs. Compression socks apply pressure which helps the muscles to push blood back up towards our heart and lungs, preventing swelling and venous disorders.
Nurses are often on their feet for 12-hour shifts which means that swollen, aching, and cramping feet and lower legs are common. In addition to the immediate pain and discomfort, which is unpleasant, these issues can prevent nurses from performing at their best, and over a career this swelling can lead to complications such as varicose veins.
Compression can prevent these issues while also reducing fatigue and boosting stamina by improving the circulation of blood (and oxygen). Therefore, compression socks are often recommended as part of a nurse’s everyday uniform.
There are several types of compression socks available, and it is important to make the right choice for your needs. The level of pressure applied by socks can be mild, moderate, or firm and some socks will apply more pressure to the feet than the calf and vice-versa.
There are also lots of styles of compression socks for nurses, including a range of patterns and colors from subtle to more fun and quirky designs. You should take care to ensure that you have the right fit for your feet and calves, as socks which are too big will be less effective, and socks which are too small will be uncomfortable.
Compression socks should be put on before the start of a shift, before swelling has started, to perform to their maximum potential, and you should keep them on until you have arrived home and can relax with your feet elevated.