Health Risks from Standing on Your Feet All Day. There’s been it all: an extended workday at our feet, running from one location to another, and not having time to take breaks.
The result is pains and aches and, if you’re lucky, a small hand rub by your spouse when you finally get home.
The problem is that dismissing it as an aspect of our task is easy. Nurses are in high demand at the most ideal of times. A tiny foot pain goes with the job.
This isn’t the best position to be in (forgive this pun). Sitting on your feet for the entire day could have serious long-term health effects.
Today, I’m going to examine these issues and what steps you may take to ensure you don’t fall into the statisticians.
The Magnitude of the Issue
Reports indicate that as high as seventy percent working population spends an excessive amount of their day walking.
We are aware that doctors fall into this category. However, when you include the number of workers employed in other industries like food service, manufacturing construction, agriculture, and retail stores, you start to realize how prevalent the problem is.
Millions of people don’t take good enough self-care in relation to the time they sit each day.
Health Risks Resulting from Standing for a Long Period of Time
Doing too much (anything longer than 4-5 hours sequence) over extended periods can lead to many health problems.
Here are a few of these.
Health Risks from Standing:
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Bunions and corns
- The joints are under pressure.
- Plantar fasciitis
- Leg cramps
Additionally, there is the psychological “pincer” effect of these ailments.
They all create physical pain (which naturally affects your ability to do your job). Chronic discomfort can cause stress in mind and affects the nervous and immune systems.
If not addressed in a timely manner, many of these issues can cause permanent effects and complications later on.
Principal Health Risks Debilitating to the Body
Let’s look at what we’ve seen to date and look into the health hazards of standing for long periods.
Splendid Legs and varicose veins
This is the kind of condition I’ve experienced in my career and is among the reasons why I keep foot care close to my heart on Nurse Focus.
(I have written extensively on this issue and will talk about the importance of shoes and compression socks to anyone who will listen).
It’s been reported that standing in a position of standing may cause leg swelling, foot pain, and, over time, the formation of varicose veins.
It’s a simple blend of biology and physics. As blood moves through the legs, gravity is at work during the day, affecting your blood circulation.
The result is swelling, pain, and heaviness you feel after sitting all day.
Varicose veins are formed when the valves within your veins fail. The blood is not flowing in the right direction. It accumulates inside your legs and then breaks through capillaries and into the flesh surrounding them.
Lower Back Pain
I’ve also had occasional lower back pain that was chronic time, but this issue isn’t frequent for me. (I sure have coworkers who suffer more in this respect).
In 2016, a study examined standing still and walking with back discomfort and found a link. In essence, the study found that you are more likely to suffer from lower back pain when you constantly stand for long periods (although desk jobs also have a risk, of course.).
This was something that frightened me when I stumbled across it during my studies. Long durations of time have been discovered to cause tension in our hearts. The same applies to “fit” and “healthy” young people.
A study conducted in 2000 was conducted to examine the connection between standing while working and the formation of carotid atherosclerosis (in men, it is necessary to mention).
Biology and physics are combined to produce what could be viewed as negative consequences.
Researchers have discovered that standing for long periods can alter the distribution of blood within your extremities (gravity is at play).
The resultant blood pooling and the strain upon the circulation system alter the volume of blood and its consistency throughout the body.
In terms of medical terminology, the study found that prolonged standing could be associated with ‘atherosclerotic progress’, or the progression of heart disease.
Joint Compression and Arthritis
However, you don’t require a medical certificate or proof of peer-reviewed research to realize that sitting for hours in a job lasting decade can cause joint pain and arthritis.
Long-term standing means joints in your feet, hips, knees, and ankles support you.
This strain, along with certain instances, the inability to move, reduces the cushioning and the lubrication of the synovial joints.
They are more prone to wear and tear, and they can tear. This can cause severe pain, but when it does, the inability to restore and repair it raises the risk of developing arthritis later on in life.
Muscle Strain and Fatigue
There is also the typical tension and fatigue of muscles which we too often dismiss as part of our job.
Being active all day can mean that joints and muscles are under stress. A single day of this could result in swelling and painful aches throughout the body.
The UK-based Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the agency estimates that as high as 30% of work-related ailments and injuries are linked to musculoskeletal fatigue and muscular diseases. The fact that you are constantly standing all day is a part of this category.
How can you combat heat issues caused by standing for hours?
How do we tackle the health risks of working on our feet all day? We cannot stay in one place when patients must be looked after.
Although it could appear to be a gloomy and depressing scenario, there are various options to limit the possibility of the onset of these conditions.
Let’s have a look
Wearing the Correct Nursing Shoes that Provide the Proper Support and Ease of Use
This is the most important one. Recognizing that your shoes are more than just a thing you wear to wear during the day is an enormous step.
Be sure to purchase the correct shoes for your needs, and consider using compression socks as well.
A good pair of supportive, high-quality shoes will eliminate many problems caused by constantly being on your feet.
Ensuring you drink enough water is a great way to increase circulation and keep joints supple.
Not only that, it’ll give you frequent breaks of 5 minutes in the toilet.
Make Sure You Take Care of Your Posture
It might take some time to adjust to, but being conscious about your body posture can be a beneficial habit to develop.
Don’t slouch. Avoid twisting and bending the wrong way (at the knees and not at the waist, etc.). Avoid stretching for objects using the step ladder.
Be aware of where you stand to ensure you can stand in a more upright, equally supportive posture.
Take the Time to Take a Break (Sit down! )
Don’t take a break during your travels. Take advantage of it to enjoy, at the very least, a few minutes away from your feet. Relaxation and breaks are mandated by law to be done so for a reason.
They can be utilized to ease your joints and muscles, but it could also be the perfect time to unwind your mind as well. This will help you become more efficient at what you do.
Be on Top of Your Work
It’s not always simple to stay on top of the latest developments in a rapidly-changing healthcare setting if you can take your time and work in a way that minimizes the need to rush around.
A consistent workflow can assist you in achieving the majority of the items above (time to rest, staying hydrated, and taking care of how you sit).
You’ll also relish your day much more, and hopefully, you will be able to finish your day without pain and aches.
Peter Smith, Huiting Ma, Richard H Glazier, Mahee Gilbert-Ouimet, Cameron Mustard, The Relationship Between Occupational Standing and Sitting and Incident Heart Disease Over a 12-Year Period in Ontario, Canada, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 187, Issue 1, January 2018, Pages 27-33, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwx298
Waters TR Dick RB. The evidence of the health risk associated with standing for long periods at work and the effectiveness of interventions. Rehabil Nurs. 2015;40(3):148-165. doi:10.1002/rnj.166