The Working Nurse's Guide to Happy Feet

If you're a travel nurse, you know how to buy and break in comfortable shoes, but foot pain can happen despite great insoles and arch support. One of the most common forms of foot pain is plantar fasciitis. You usually know you have it, the moment you wake up and walk to the bathroom; there's pain (sometimes excruciating) in the connective tissue running along the bottom of your foot. These are a few tips to reduce inflammation, and bring soothing relief without reaching for the Ibuprofen.

  • Do this simple exercise before you get out of bed in the morning: *Repeat these simple moves up to 5 times, and your feet will be happier than the ones you saw in that penguin movie. Start by slowly pulling your toes up with your hand until you feel the stretch in the bottom of your foot. You can also use a towel or belt, and loop it around the ball of your foot. Keeping your leg straight, gently pull towards your body until you feel a stretch in the lower part of your leg. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat.
  • Use a tennis ball and its container: Here's a creative *solution that's perfect for individuals working travel nurse jobs who like to say, "Tennis anyone?" While the tennis ball itself is therapeutic when rolled under a foot that suffers from plantar fasciitis, so is this trick. Fill an empty tennis ball container with water and freeze; roll your arch slowly back and forth (over the container) for 10 minutes at a stretch.
  • Try this ice bath featured in Runners World: You can watch the short video of how it's done here: Just fill a 30-quart plastic storage box (with cold tap water) above the ankles, and drop in a tray or two of ice cubes for a complete foot soak.
  • Try these calf-stretching wall exercises: There are two main muscles in the lower leg that attach to the heel; stretch these by *standing against a wall and sliding one leg back, pushing the heel down towards the floor. When you feel a stretch in the lower part of your leg, hold for 30 seconds. Repeat three times for each leg.
  • Wear these nifty foot aids: Healthcare professionals can't argue with the reasoning behind the Strassburg Sock. This product tethers your toes to your shin, and maintains a gentle stretch to the fascia while you sleep. In the morning, you'll probably notice increased flexibility and less pain. Nurses with sore patters may also want to give BRD Sport's foot brace a try. RNs can find links to these products in 5 Tools for Treating Plantar Fasciitis.

Every Healthcare Professional Deserves to Be Foot Loose and Fancy Free
So there you have it – just a few things you can do before consulting a podiatrist or physical therapist. RNs will read in physical therapy and orthopedic sources that some pervasive foot pain comes from walking barefoot too much (this puts stress on the plantar ligament), or may be a result of weight gain. See Healthy Careers' Recipes for a delicious path toward weight maintenance and a healthy BMI, and stay active. Happy feet mean happy days!

*Tips in this post came from Athletico's tips for plantar fasciitis.

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working nurse
travel nurse
healthcare professional
physical therapist