The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Ouch! These Nurses Need Nurses! Walking Shoes for Hospital Work

Posted by on Monday, December 3rd, 2012


Whenever I go to the doctor, I’m amazed by the energy of the nurses. They bustle like nobody’s business—rolling patients to and fro, fetching this and that—they never stop moving! They should all be Olympic champions. I once asked a nurse how she kept up her energy. She said she didn’t even notice getting tired until the end of the shift. There was always so much going on, so many people that needed her help, she didn’t have time to contemplate her exhaustion.

Of course, for those of us with podiatry on the brain (and that’s all of us, right?), hearing about this kind of endless movement makes you wonder about nurses’ feet and shoes. Undoubtedly, like in any active profession, people must be suffering. And while nurses often wear tennis shoes, how many of them are paying attention to the mechanics? Are their shoes appropriate? With all of those patients to worry about, I’d be willing to bet good money that nurses aren’t worrying a whole lot about themselves. Of course, as we all know, foot injuries are insidious. They often start small and grow until every step away from the nurse’s station is agony. You can’t help people if you’ve got a mean case of plantar fasciitis or flexor tendonitis or Dr. Seuss toe! So, attention nurses: here are some important things to consider when you’re selecting shoes for work.



Walking shoes are best, you say? Yes. Yes I do. Probably, most of the time, you’re not jogging or sprinting in the hospital corridors. Usually, you’re walking and, though they may be slight, walking shoes and running shoes do have differences.



Shoe heft is important when you take so many steps. Running shoes are built to withstand steady pounding from your feet, so they tend to be bulkier and heavier than walking shoes. This can contribute in a significant way to fatigue. You don’t need excessive cushioning, though minimalist shoes probably aren’t cushioned enough. Look for a mid-weight shoe with moderate shock absorption.



You need an even keel for your heel. When you walk, you start each stride with a heel strike. High running shoe heels, therefore, aren’t appropriate and can disturb skeletal alignment. In the image above, the running shoe is on the left, the walking shoe is on the right.

No slipping in the ER! Slipping can endanger your patients, but it can also cause you injury, and it’s a very real hazard. Spills are common around all those IVs. So, sole grip is incredibly important, but you’re walking on smooth floors so you don’t need the convolutions of a hiking or cross-training shoe. Look for shoes with well-labeled no-slip rubber soles.

If your shoes are great but you still have foot pain, visit The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900). If you have an injury, it’s always best to treat it right away.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.