Ten Tips to Happy Feet

By Tammy Pikey, RN, CMSRN

Methodist Charlton Medical Center

Spending 12 hours — or more — making the rounds at your hospital can really take a toll on your feet. You work hard, but your shoes shouldn’t be hard on your feet. While no one shoe is right for all clinicians, here are smart tips to follow for happier feet.

1. It’s all in the toes. Toes carry your weight and help maintain your balance. To support your weight throughout your busy day in the hospital, it’s important to make sure your shoes have ample space in the toe box, which allows the toes to naturally spread out.

2. Color. Some hospitals prefer that you wear a certain color for uniform consistency. Ask about your hospital’s policies regarding shoes before you purchase anything.

3. Weight. A heavy, bulky shoe is going to weigh you down over the course of a long shift. Instead, look for a lightweight, yet durable shoe, which will be easier on your ankles and leg muscles.

4. Consider inserts. No matter how comfortable the shoes, gel or foam inserts may improve the comfort considerably. If you have problems with rheumatism, arthritis, malformation of toes, fallen arches, bunions, or sprains, you may want to talk with a podiatrist about custom inserts.

5. Fit. This sounds basic, but when was the last time you had your foot measured? We always have our children’s feet measured to ensure proper fit, but rarely our own. The fact is that feet continue to grow throughout our lives, and each foot is normally slightly different in size. Having your feet measured routinely will help ensure that you’re purchasing the appropriate size and width for your foot. A low, wide-based heel or flat shoes are best. Look for shoes with deeper heel cups, which will keep your feet’s protective tissues in their proper alignments.

6. Say no to laces and holes. Cleanliness is important, even down to the laces. Select closed-toe shoes without laces, holes, or openings. Not only are they easier to maintain, they’re also less prone to transmitting infection.

7. Have soles. Look for shoes with good traction and make sure they have shock-absorbent soles. Just because your shoes come with a soft foot bed, doesn’t necessarily mean it will provide comfort for the rest of your shift.

8. Socks. Wear socks with your shoes to help prevent sweat and bacteria from building up in your shoes, which may lead to blisters and foot odor. Socks also reduce your risk of athlete’s foot and other foot infections.

9. Local vs. online. If you’re buying at a local uniform store, try on both shoes and walk around. Rock up and down on the heels and the balls of your feet to ensure they have the level of flexibility and support you need. You may want to shop for your footwear online. In that case, make sure you stick with reputable manufacturers who have good return policies. You may even be able to add nursing scrubs and other medical uniforms to your shopping cart for better values.

10. Massage. Treat yourself to a nice foot massage, care of your spouse or significant other. Or better yet, splurge on a reflexology foot massage with a fellow clinician.

You work hard and your job requires happy, healthy feet. Don’t feel guilty for purchasing good shoes or booking a foot massage. Instead, consider it an investment in your career and your performance. Your feet will thank you. Or, at least, they won’t complain quite as loudly.

To see why Methodist Health System is a brilliant choice for your career, please visit Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

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Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System or any of its affiliated hospitals.

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