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Why Every Nurse Should Wear Compression Socks

Leg-down shot of a woman in black leggings with grey (non-compression) socks with a green mug between her feet.

Let’s face it: nurses go through a lot, and it’s hard for non-nurses to understand. Most of us never have to wonder if we’ll get 10 minutes too scarf down lunch, use the bathroom, or just sit down. Nurses do. It’s not uncommon for nurses to skip their federally mandated 15-minute breaks because of staffing shortages or too much work. Nor is it uncommon for nurses to not take a single break during a 12-hour shift.

All this overwork is damaging to the body (specifically the legs) and mind alike, contributing to burnout and high turnover in a big way. It also contributes to spine problems like slipped discs and heart problems later in life.

Luckily, compression socks are here to help. The socks, often gradated, can help nurses cope with the aches and pains of their jobs, and no nurse should be without a pair (or three).

If you’re wondering what the big deal about compression socks is, you aren’t alone. So we put together some reasons why no nurse should be without these helpful garments.

They’re Clinically Proven to Reduce Pain, Swelling, and Improve the General Well-Being of the Wearers

Compression therapy is an extremely good treatment solution with a history that dates back to thousands of years BCE. But it’s only been in the past hundred years or so that the details of compression’s benefits for the body have been closely studied.

What one such study found was that compression is even better for you than previously thought. “Many studies that investigated the effectiveness of graduated compression stockings in patients of all CEAP classes reported improvement in symptoms such as pain and swelling and in activity levels and well-being,” wrote Chung Sim Lim, one of the authors of the study.

By the way, graduated compression means that compression isn’t the same at the ankle as it is at the calf. Graduated compression helps to get all the benefits of compression without overly constricting the leg. It’s worth noting that all of Cutieful’s compression socks are graduated.

So when you consider the extreme physical and mental demands of nursing, wearing a garment that’s been proven to improve circulation and general well-being seems like a pretty good choice.

They Help Compensate for the Lack of Breaks

Breaks aren’t legally mandated by the federal government (or Ohio!) That said, if there’s one group that desperately needs more frequent breaks, it’s nurses. Three 15-minute breaks and one uninterrupted meal period is the unofficial standard for 12-hour nursing shifts, but the reality is that nurses skip these breaks much of the time. These breaks are useful for going to the bathroom, eating, or just sitting down to recollect and refocus—all things that end up improving a nurse’s morale and ability to care for their patients.

There are lots of reasons why these breaks are important, but we’re going to focus on a very simple reason: breaks let nurses rest their legs. Being on your feet all day is stressful and, as we mentioned previously, contributes to higher rates of heart disease. Sitting down every so often lets those aching legs rest and also prevents nurses from having to prop their feet up and ice their legs at the end of the day. There is a difference between tired and pained legs. The less pained your legs are, the more time you have to spend not just resting and waiting for the next day, which contributes to burnout.

They Help Stave Off Burnout

Speaking of burnout, nursing is an industry with an extremely high turnover rate. Nurses are at high risk for moving from hospital to hospital, but they’re also at abnormally high risk for switching professions altogether. Take a look at any list of jobs with a high turnover rate and you’ll see nursing up there with fast-food workers, retail workers, and the much-hated meter readers.

Nursing has such a high turnover rate for lots of reasons: it is an emotionally draining job with long hours and often-mandatory overtime, nurses are generally underappreciated, and older staff members are often hostile to new nurses. So it starts to make sense why nurses having to rest and ice their legs for an hour after work contributes to burnout: it takes away from the little free time they do have.

But with compression socks, many nurses report that they no longer have to rest and ice their legs after a long shift. Score one for compression!

They Let You Accessorize

Whether you work in a hospital with a strict dress code or one that lets you come in wearing Hawaiian flower scrubs, compression socks let nurses add a splash of color to an otherwise-plain uniform. Patterned compression socks are popular for the same reason fuzzy and graphic socks are popular: they’re fun!

Want to rock colorful anchors? We’ve got ‘em. How about Autumn-themed cats and dogs? Right this way. Skulls with pinks bows? Check it out. Cutieful’s compression socks let you express yourself in a way you probably never have before: with your socks.

Interested? Check Out Our Collection

Whether you’re a frustrated nurse or just shopping for one, we hope we’ve convinced you a little bit of the magic that are compression socks. If you’re browsing and not sure where to start, why not check out our best sellers?

1 thought on “Why Every Nurse Should Wear Compression Socks

  1. Thanks for pointing out that nurses don’t get a lot of breaks to begin with and end up skipping their breaks a lot of the time, but compression socks can help make up for that. My sister is currently going to school to become a nurse, so that information could really help her out. I’ll definitely show her this article and encourage her to get some!

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