The Best and Worst Shoes for Xmas Parties

By Krista Elliott

'Tis the season, and some night over the next few weeks, you might find yourself at a holiday party. If you're lucky, you'll be at a rollicking bash with great friends, stimulating conversation, and delectable food and drink. If not, you'll be at the sad "party" that your office throws at 4 p.m. on a Thursday, where you all pile into the fluorescent-lit boardroom for grocery-store Christmas cookies and dubious eggnog, while Donna the receptionist tries valiantly to inject some cheer into the situation with her battery-operated light-up reindeer antlers and non-ironic ugly Christmas sweater. 

No matter what kind of party you're headed to, however, the odds are good that you'll be spending some time on your feet, mixing and mingling. And your choice of footwear can determine how your spine and joints feel the next day. If your party is festively formal, or cocktail attire, you might be tempted to slip on some strappy heels. Be warned, though: They might look beautiful, but what they do to your body isn't. 

The Dangers of Heels

You might think that high heels only affect your feet. And don't get me wrong. They do. High heels put an enormous amount of pressure on the balls of your feet, and if worn often, can lead to a permanent shortening of the tendons at the back of the ankle. 

The hidden danger lies a little farther up, however. 

Because high heels pitch your weight forward onto the balls of your feet, you have to adjust your body to compensate, or else risk falling flat on your face (NOT THAT I HAVE DONE THIS). And how do you adjust? The back arches. The hips tilt forward, and the chest rises. 

The end result of all of this shifting is that your knees and lower back take a pounding, straining your muscles and ligaments, and putting extra stress on your joints and vertebrae. Constant high heel wearing can even increase your risk of painful spinal conditions like sciatica, spondylolisthesis (say that one three times fast), or spinal stenosis. None of these conditions feel good. None of them. 

A Party for your Feet

So are you stuck wearing your trusty Birkenstocks to the holiday party? Not unless you want to, in which case, go on and rock those bad boys. If you do want to wear a dressier shoe though, more sensible options abound. A lower heel, between 1 and 2 inches, will give your look a lift without throwing your entire frame out of alignment. And don't fear looking dowdy, as chic options abound, from glittering sandals to velvet slingbacks. Hey, if a flat is good enough for Manolo, it's good enough for me. If you must wear a higher heel, however, do so as rarely as possible, and preferably for events when you'll mostly be sitting (dinner as opposed to a cocktail party). 

And before your party, don't forget to stop by The Joint Chiropractic. The chiropractic doctors at The Joint are experts at delivering the targeted and gentle adjustments that can get your spine and joints feeling great, and better able to withstand the rigors of party season. Who knows, with treatment from The Joint, you might feel so great that you'll be the one donning the light-up antlers this year!

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