Knee high Compression socks and stockings are recommended today by a variety of physicians to edema patients, workers, nurses, travelers, and professional athletes. They help improve blood and circulation.
This study will surely help you in understanding the role, benefits, and uses of knee high nursing compression socks for nurses. It will also describe in full detail the composition, purpose, sizes, and variants of graduated knee high clothing available in the market today.
- Prevent varicose veins
- Reduce foot pain
- Prevent edema
- Increase comfort during active hours
Nursing is one of the most timeless and most admirable professions throughout history. Nurses throughout history have taken care of patients (men, women, children, and infants) and families. The origin of the nursing profession is older than the 19th century. However, it was recognized worldwide through the efforts of Florence Nightingale employed in the Crimean war (fought between 1853 and 1856).
Florence Nightingale was an English nurse and social reformer. She is remembered as the founder of modern nursing. She was the first one to define and organize the nursing profession with the establishment of nursing schools and providing the basic principles for nursing and healthcare. Also, She gave her Environment Theory in the book called ‘Notes on Nursing.’
What began as simple knee high clothing for helping ladies in hospitals and healthcare centers during wartimes, has now taken the shape of a highly professional and contemporary institute throughout the world. Nurses are not limited to war hospitals only and are found in every clinic, hospital, and healthcare facilities.
Advancements in modern nursing techniques and medical sciences have improved the work conditions for nurses. The current nursing profession has also added several additional duties and tasks for nurses. This includes patient care, medicine administration, diet plan adherence, recording vital readings, and tracking the progress of recovery (from disease or accident).
In some countries, nurses are even allowed to prescribe and administer medication after specific advanced certification. Nurses can assist the physicians by accurate reporting of vitals and change in patient’s symptoms. The global nursing community observes a strict code of ethics, competency, emotional help towards patients, and unparalleled professionalism.
Challenges in Today’s Healthcare Setup
Nursing involves joint care of patients belonging to a range of ages, communities, nationalities, and physical and mental disorders. Nurses, both males, and females have to assess the patient needs according to their respective fields, for instance, nurses working in cancer hospitals have a different scope of work as compared to the ones working in burn treatment centers.
Similarly, nurses working in emergency, trauma centers, skincare units, imaging centers, laboratories, clinics, and other health care facilities have
However, in almost all fields, nurses have to face several physical, mental, and emotional challenges. These include:
Long and odd working hours
Most of the shifts work in shifts of up to 12 and in some cases, 18 hours long. These long shifts can have severe short and long term effects on the human body, including fatigue, stress, disturbed sleep cycle, and less social time for family and friends.
On Job Hazards
Nurses risk exposure to germs, harmful fluids, and other hazardous fluids (and materials) every day. Some of these can directly affect their body and health. Nurses have to deal with needles, sharp edges tools, contaminated surgical equipment, and slippery floors of the emergency corridors.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities face an almost constant shortage of nursing staff. This puts even more work burden on the existing nursing staff and increases their shift hours as well.
Nurses can experience fatigue, tiredness, and swollen feet and ankles due to long hours of standing, sitting, and physical exertion. The fatigue can be both mental and physical. Nurses can also face soreness, swollen feet, and ankles. This common issue is the cause of pain and discomfort for nurses and other staff associated with the healthcare profession.
Why do They Face Swollen Feet
In a healthcare environment, especially in trauma and emergency units of hospitals, nurses have to face a fast pace of work. The nerve-wracking workload leaves no time to relax or sit down for a cup of coffee. Blood can easily pool down in your lower limbs due to constant standing and work routine.
When the fluids do not return to your heart correctly, and the circulation is improper, you can expect an uncomfortable and painful feeling in your legs that leads to swollen feet, ankles, and sore joints. Your shoes seem to become tighter, and your feet feel like a sack full of jelly or liquid. In the beginning, you might feel small discomfort when you switch from your work shoes to regular ones. Later as the symptoms progress, you can experience pain and difficulty in changing your footwear.
Nurses’ legs are subject to extreme exertion and lengthy postures. Standing in the same position for an extended time while working on a report or checking vitals, bending over to change the medical aids of a patient, and moving back and fro the emergency corridors can be abusive for your feet and ankles.
A twelve-hour shift on your feet along the bedside of patients in need of constant care and medical aid can be a hectic and tiresome job. Nurses are also prone to dependent edema in both lower and upper extremities. Dependent edema is common in professionals with limited mobility and can also be due to some other concerning issues, including heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, kidney diseases, and cirrhosis.
- Fast pace working conditions
- Extreme exertion and lengthy postures
Symptoms and Treatment
Although swollen feet are not much of a danger to your health, they can cause extreme discomfort and prevent you from moving, traveling, and get on with your day to day tasks.
Prolonged swelling of your feet and ankles might itself be a symptom of some other underlying health issue. If you experience severe chronic swelling of feet, you might be suffering from edema. You should visit your physician for appropriate medical guidance and treatment.
Remember that it may not be because of your nursing work routine that is the cause of the disorder. Swollen feet can also be due to pregnancy, edema, trauma to feet or ankles, lymphatic system disorders, and medication side effects.
Symptoms of the condition include heaviness and puffiness in toes, feet, ankles, and legs. You may also feel a weight in the lower body and fluids starting to fill your feet like a sack. As time goes by, you can also feel a throbbing and visible increase in the size of your lower limbs.
Nursing is one of those professions that are prone to swollen feet and edema. Nurses often complain about swollen feet and ankles (and even hands in some severe cases) after long or continuous shifts. Another issue with swollen legs is that it can get worse even if you sleep or rest with the onset of the symptoms.
- Extreme discomfort
- Prolonged swelling
- Heaviness and puffiness in toes, feet, ankles
Some of the conventional treatments used to reduce the swollen feet and ankle include:
Elevation of lower body
Elevating the lower body is a temporary way to reduce the puffiness and swelling of the feet by draining the accumulative fluids in the feet towards the core of the body. The blood leaves the lower limbs gradually (aided with gravity), and there is a reasonable relief in soreness and pain. Nurses and other healthcare professionals can do this activity during their breaks and end of shifts to reduce the swelling.
Aerobic exercises, walking, and stretching keeps your body in shape, and you maintain your general wellness. Exercising can especially help with edema patients by improving blood circulation through muscles and blood vessels of limbs. Nurses can choose simple regular exercises to maintain their health and avoid swollen feet and ankles. You can also adjust your exercise routine according to your shifts and take short breaks between the shifts to stretch your muscles, hamstrings, and limbs.
Increasing magnesium in the diet
Magnesium deficiency is another cause of swollen feet and ankles. You can use magnesium supplements as well as natural foods with magnesium to keep your magnesium levels enough to reduce any edema symptoms. You can also request your doctor for supplements that are more suitable for your particular symptoms and nursing routine.
Soaking your feet in Epsom salt
After a long nursing shift, an easy solution to get rid of your swollen feet and ankle is soaking them in Epsom salt (in warm water). Epsom salt has high concentrations of magnesium sulfate and improves blood circulation in your feet naturally. You can use this remedy with both warm and cold water according to your preference.
And here comes the Best Remedy!
The easiest and one of the most effective treatments for swollen feet and ankles is the use of knee high compression socks. These stockings apply a certain amount of pressure to your feet and prevent fluid accumulation in your feet. You can buy a pair online or from your local drug store.
What Are Compression Stockings
The durable elastic material used to make snug-fitting knee high socks, apply a calculated amount of continuous pressure to your limbs. This pressure reduces the diameter of veins and blood vessels and in turn, increases the blood pressure through them. The increased demand doesn’t allow accumulation of blood in the feet and forces it to move back towards the heart.
Compression hosiery comes in a variety of sizes, lengths, colors, and pressure. Compression sleeves are also the same as knee high graduated socks but lack the feet part. Knee high and thigh high graduated stockings are the most commonly used ones.
There are different categories of knee high graduated socks according to the pressure they apply on the leg usually measured in mm Hg. Most of the nurses prefer socks between 20 and 30 mm Hg. The main types of these socks are graduated compression socks (designed for the clinical purpose), knee high support stockings (for non-medical purposes), and knee high anti-embolism clothing (to reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis, DVT).
In some cases, your physician may also advise you to wear a specific size and length of knee high graduated compression sock depending on your condition. In that case, you should strictly follow your doctor’s advice. You can use the socks most of the time and take them off only at night or when having a shower.
Knee high compression stockings are highly effective in treating and reducing the effects of edema, venitis, thrombosis, blood clotting, varicose veins, improve lymphatic drainage, and reducing swelling of feet, ankles, and legs. Physicians recommend knee high compression socks and sleeves for mild swelling as well as chronic edema patients.
Knee Compression Socks for Nurses
The knee high compression socks are not just for the elderly, people with diabetes, and pregnant women. Compression hoses can be lifesavers for nurses. They can prevent or reduce stiffness, soreness, and swelling of your lower extremities. Compression therapy has been reported to be a useful technique against swollen feet and ankles of nurses.
Prevent Fatigue, Clotting, and Varicose
If you are a nurse, compression hosiery can be lifesavers. Knee high compression socks and knee high stockings are notable for reducing swelling, minimizing leg fatigue, and preventing soreness of feet and ankles. They can alleviate the pain and discomfort you face every day. Putting on your favorite pair of knee high compression socks every morning can prevent conditions like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), varicose (and spider) veins, lymphatic disorders, and clotting. It is hard to imagine how such a simple piece of clothing can improve your feet circulation and save you from a bad day at work.
Special Material Composition
The material and composition of knee high compression socks can be of importance for the nurses. Since the nature of the job requires an extra degree of cleanliness. There is no roaming for smelly knee high graduated socks carrying bacteria and other germs. The elastic material (used to apply a gradient and consistent pressure on the leg) must not capture or retain germs that may cause bad smell and can spread infections or disease. Mostly the materials used for knee high compression socks include polyester, nylon, spandex, elastic fibers, and artificial wool.
Many individuals sweat a lot from their lower feet. If the graduated knee high stockings are not airy and breathable, they can result in extreme discomfort and sweating during the long shifts, and nurses usually have to endure day and night.
Part of the Uniform
Nurses’ attire (especially female nurses) is incomplete if it doesn’t include graduated knee high compression stockings. Many health care facilities have made it mandatory for all of their shift staff and nurses to wear knee high compression socks as a part of their uniform and daily work clothes.
As a part of the uniform, mostly white-colored stockings offer a clean and sleek look for both male and female nursing staff. However, the color varies according to the dress code of the facility.
Patterned graduated knee high socks with colors can brighten your day and add a splash of colors to an otherwise plain and dull uniform. They can let you accessorize even when you are following a strict dress code.
Look stylish and feel comfortable
Another essential part of the nursing profession is to stay fit and appear sharp. Nursing staff are a breath of fresh air for the patients that might be severely ill and are suffering from chronic diseases. Knee high compression socks complement the appearance of efficient medical personnel.
These graduated knee high socks are usually pre-washed with non-hazardous fabric softeners and are comfortable for the feet. Some brands are producing their products out of natural cotton, wool, and silk that are 100 percent organic in nature.
The preferred Size for male nurses in knee-high, while the ladies, mostly use pantyhose or thigh-high stockings during working hours. Graduated knee high socks may not work well if your shift is longer than six hours, that’s why you need mid or high graduated knee high socks for better support.
Graduated compression works best for nurses and can improve feet circulation drastically, preventing swollen feet and ankles. The best compression size for daily wear is 15 to 20 mm Hg (mild or moderate compression). However, in case of symptoms of edema and swollen feet, 20-30 mmHg (firm compression) can also be used.
Minimize Micro-tears in muscles and tissues
Nurses are also prone to muscular and tissue damage of legs and feet in some rare cases. Knee high compression socks can minimize the risk of such muscle and tissue damage during long shifts.
Should all Nurses Wear Graduated Support Hosiery?
Nursing as a profession can be stressful and physically tiresome on its own; you do need any additional nuisance of swollen feet and ankles. Using knee high compression socks is a natural and budget-friendly remedy to prevent all such issues.
With so many benefits and advantages of compression stocking aids, the use of knee high compression socks can bring about a healthy change in a nurse’s lifestyle. All nurses should have at least one pair of knee high compression socks or sleeves in their wardrobe that they can use whenever they feel the need to wear one.
However, regular use is much more useful for improved circulation and preventing swollen feet. You can also reap long term benefits by using knee high compression socks like avoiding blisters, skin cuts, and undesirable clotting on the feet.
Another exciting benefit of knee high compression socks is that they compensate for the overdue and sometimes lack necessary breaks during long shifts. Small breaks of 5 to 10 minute long do not seem much, but they can be a morale booster, a stress reducer, quick bathroom relief, and even a small talk opportunity with your colleague. Most importantly, these breaks can let you stretch your limbs and muscles. In short, they keep you from burning out altogether.
How to Wear Compression Socks
Although male and female nurses may choose different sizes, compression levels, and types of compression socks, the wearing method and technique are almost similar.
You can wear graduated knee high socks and sleeves daily at home or when leaving for the hospital or clinic for work. You can wear them while walking, sitting, and during your everyday work routine at the medical center. Compression hosiery is usually taken off during the night for sleep. You can put them back on again in the morning before leaving for work, just like ordinary socks.
If you are working on a night shift, you can wear them, but if you get a break for a nap or rest during the shift, it is best that you remove them and then go to sleep.
When you are wearing graduated knee high socks, they should smoothly conform to your body. When you are putting them on, make sure to remove any wrinkles and folds.
Here are some of the actions you might want to take care of when wearing them before leaving for the hospital:
- Try to wear them before you wear the bottom of your uniform or attire.
- Do not fold the graduated knee high socks from the top or the bottom.
- Please Do not use any Vaseline or similar product before putting them on as they can damage the graduated knee high sock material.
- Do not try to tug the graduated knee high sock from edges when putting them on, instead roll it smoothly.
- Make sure there is a space equal to the width of two fingers below the knee and groin line and the top of the sock (depending on the type of hose you are wearing knee-high or thigh-high)
Knee high compression socks and clinically proven to relieve swollen feet, reduce pain, and soreness among healthcare professionals. They are also known to improve blood circulation as well as the general well being of the wearer. Nurses face physical and mental challenges every day and night during their shifts and are prone to swollen feet and ankles. Knee high compression socks are a convenient and effective remedy for them to ease their way through long and tiresome shift duties.