The nursing profession is hard work. It is no secret that nurses are actively on their feet 8 to 12 hours a day depending on a typical nursing shift. Our legs and feet become over-exhausted from the amount of lifting, pulling, pushing, walking, jumping, running, and standing we endure on a regular basis. These activities are stressful on the body! Not only is proper shoe attire important for the overall health of a registered nurse, but compression socks are just as important.
How to Compression Socks Work?
The lower extremities pump blood in your veins against gravity back to the heart. Disorders that can impede the flow of blood include circulation problems, lack of movement (bed rest from surgery), and weakness in the walls of the veins (venous insufficiency). These can cause leg swelling, leg soreness, and leg fatigue that predispose nurses to clots. Compression socks squeeze the legs and vein walls to return blood to the heart improving flow of lymphatic fluid.
What Qualities Do I Look for in My Compression Socks?
- Compression Socks at a minimum should be 20 to 30 mmHg (firm compression) to efficiently reduce varicose veins, edema, and blood clots. They do come in 30 to 40 mmHg and more than 40 mmHg which can be referred to as medical grade socks.
- Find compression socks that do not roll down your legs or slip off. These can mean the socks are too tight or too loose. Neither are beneficial.
- Choose the best material. Compression socks can come in many different materials; however, they should provide adequate warmth, flexibility, compression, antimicrobial properties, and other benefits.
What are the Benefits from wearing Compression Socks?
Compression Socks Protect your Legs and Feet
Compression socks can protect your legs from scratches, abrasions, bumps, and microbes during a typical shift. If you haven’t had various scratches and abrasions happen to you while working on the floor, “are you even working?” I have found that I am less likely to bruise or have scratches with top quality compression socks.
Compression Socks Reduce Swelling
Compression socks have proven technology to limit swelling for individuals who spend most of the day on their feet. Because after working a long shift, you are guaranteed to have swollen and sore legs/feet.
Compression Socks Create Warmth and Alleviate Soreness
Many times, after working a long shift, the first thing I want to do if rip my clothes off and soak my body in a warm tub. The compression socks (if fitted appropriately) can create a warm sensation and alleviate soreness over your shift reducing the need to soak for extended periods of time.
Compression Socks Reduce Varicose and Spider Veins
If you have ever laid eyes on varicose and/or spider veins, it may want to make you run for the hills. No nurse wants a map atlas permanently tattooed on the back of their legs. The blue discoloration can be problematic and led to nurses covering up their legs outside of work. These disorders occur by allowing blood to pool in your lower extremities and enlarging your veins. Be kind to yourself and wear compression socks.
Compression Socks Kick Dress Codes Butt
Nursing is in an era of uniformity. Each team member is required to wear a specific designated color and company brand. Some uniforms are required to have the company logo embroidered on them. However, there is never a uniform dress code for your compression socks. So, get crazy! Break out the hot pinks, neon greens, heart patterns, and stripes. Get creative and enjoy your socks.
Always Consult your Physician Prior to Wearing Compression Socks
The benefits for compression stocks are incredible, but there are groups of individuals who need to seek physician approval prior to wearing socks consistently. Those with peripheral neuropathy, history of peripheral arterial bypass grafting, peripheral artery disease, skin infections, dermatitis, massive lower extremity edema, and/or pulmonary edema with congestive heart failure need to see medical advice.