Plantar Fasciitis and the Nurse: Common Foot Ailments of Nurses

There are plenty of demanding jobs out there that put strain on one’s feet, and nursing is certainly one of those occupations.

Back and foot pain are common ailments for nurses, and plantar fasciitis is one of the more prevalent problems. There are many things you can do to combat it, but one of the best (and perhaps easiest) is getting a good pair of nursing shoes for plantar fasciitis.

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. As such, the words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

But What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Let’s get a little technical: The plantar fascia, which runs from your heel to your mid-toes, is supposed to absorb shock as you walk or run. If overused, it can start to tear and get inflamed. That inflammation is what we call plantar fasciitis, and it can be extremely uncomfortable, especially if your job prohibits you from sitting down (which nursing, of course, does).

What Can I Do About It?

The first thing a podiatrist will likely recommend is to take it easy on your feet, but we all know that’s just not possible if you want to continue making a living as a nurse. That means you need to take other precautions, including finding suitable footwear.

Let’s start with some non-shoe-related things you can do:

Get a Splint: Ask your podiatrist for a night splint. This will stretch your plantar fascia at night, which in turn should help remove some discomfort. That being said, sleeping in a boot isn’t always the most comfortable option.

Stretch:  If you don’t wear a night splint (or even if you do), doing stretches during the daytime can help alleviate pain over time. You can simply bend your foot back and forth, or grab a towel and loop it around the ball of your foot and pull back. Sitting and rolling your foot over a tennis ball or rolling pin can also massage the plantar fascia.

Ice It: When you get home after a long day, try and put your feet up and cool them off with an ice pack to help mitigate inflammation.

Take Medication: Over-the-counter pain killers like Ibuprofen can ease extreme discomfort, but shouldn’t be used as a first resort.

Avoid Going Barefoot: Proper support is crucial to your feet’s wellbeing, so even walking around your home without shoes on can cause lots of unnecessary pain.

Best Nursing Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

What makes a good shoe for combating plantar fasciitis? You essentially have two options: One, find a quality shoe with insoles that you can remove and replace with custom orthotics, and two, find shoes that already incorporate the support an orthotic gives.

Everyone has different feet, so that means there is no “perfect” shoe for all people with plantar fasciitis. Did you know that folks with high arches AND those with flat feet can suffer from plantar fasciitis? That being said, supportive arches and cushioned soles that absorb shock are generally good indicators of plantar-fasciitis-friendly footwear.

Avoid shoes without support, like ballet flats, flip flops, and high heels. Obviously, those shoe types aren’t nursing-appropriate anyway, but take the same care when trying on nursing shoes.

What To Look For When Shoe-Shopping

A Closed Heel: You want to look for a shoe that will stay on, especially if you want to customize it with your own orthotics.

Laces or Adjustable Velcro: The nice thing about shoes with laces or velcro is the ability to alter how tightly the shoe fits. Particularly with laces, which you can tighten and loosen along the top of the foot. This can improve the way certain arches fit your feet and relieve pressure.

Arch Support: This is important when looking for nursing shoes for flat feet. Without any artificial arch in the shoe, the plantar fascia will remain too taught which causes more strain and inflammation.

Cushioned Insole: Just like you shouldn’t walk barefoot around your house, you don’t want insoles that mimic concrete floors. Look for something with adequate padding that will absorb shock as you go about your day.

Time To Shop

Now that you know what you’re looking for in terms of your plantar fasciitis, check out our buying guide. You can choose your next pair of nursing shoes based on color, style, material, and of course, comfort.

Happy Shopping!

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