Dec 17, 2010

How to Stand for Hours at Holiday Parties

High Heels or Not, Here Are Several Ways to Ease The Pressure On Feet, Legs and Back from Standing

Tis the season for holiday partying! Those dreary days of January and February will be here soon enough! It’s great to see friends, spend relaxed time with co-workers and most of all, I feel like my wife and I enjoy more quality time alone while driving to and from all those parties! So as far as I’m concerned, bring it on!

It’s about this point in December, however, when I start hearing little a whining from some fellow partygoers. A frequent complaint is all the standing that is often involved. Expanded cocktail “hours,” parties at homes with too few sitting areas, and long waits in a crowded restaurant bar while waiting for your table all add up to a lot of standing.

So, as a podiatrist and a surgeon who spends hours at a time standing in one spot, there are a couple of things I can suggest to my fellow party-goers. (BTW, in January there will be a blog devoted to people, like nurses, waitresses, chefs, pharmacists, etc. who do a lot of standing on the job. This blog is for non-professional, party standers.)

If standing for long periods is troubling to you, the first thing to examine are your shoes. Partying is hard on the feet, particularly for those wearing six-inch heels (frequent visitors to this blog already know what I’m going to say about that).

You might have noticed in our offices and on our Web site, (www.feetonline.com), we only sell an amazing brand known for running shoes. Except for my bedroom slippers and Tuxedo dress shoes, I only wear one brand of running shoes shoes, as do my kids, in-laws, etc. The brand is Aetrex. After years of researching the subject and rejecting dozens of shoe designs, I chose Aetrex for its state-of-the-art design and technology. These shoes cradle and protect your feet better than any other. (Give me a call if you’d like to learn more.)

Feet are not the only things that suffer from standing for long periods. Leg and back pain are frequently involved. Prolonged standing is also attributed to more serious, long-term ailments like varicose veins and more circulatory problems.

So, what can be done? Here are a few suggestions that might help as you head off to the next set of festivities:

1. Posture: Think of your spine as a stack of small blocks. These blocks need to be in a perfectly vertical line or they will want to fall, in which case your muscles work overtime to keep you standing up straight. Perfect posture is when your muscles are very relaxed in a straight posture. Your chest is slightly forward, shoulders are back, the head is up, hips tucked in and your feet are evenly spaced with equal weight on each foot. You don’t have to stand like a guard at Buckingham Palace throughout the entire party, but good posture will help.

2. Move: Whether you’re sitting or standing for long periods, the key is to move every few minutes to keep the blood circulating. Walk to the bar, to the door for fresh air, to the hostess to check on wait time for your table, etc. This keeps the blood circulating and (momentarily) lessens the pressure on your feet.

3. Shift Your Weight: This will give each foot a few moments of relief. Rest one foot on a bar stool rung. Lean against the bar or a wall for a few minutes. Again, those few moments you can take the pressure off your feet will help.

4. Flex: If you’re a dancer, sneak in a small demi-plie (small bending of the knees) and releve (raising up on your toes). Men often “rock” forward and back. If you can sneak outside and do a few deep knee bends, you’ll really feel better! Again, all this circulates the blood.

5. Slip Off Your Shoes: Over the years, I’ve caught my wife doing this at parties. She’s so good at it, no one even notices as she gently steps out of one heel, stands shoeless for a few moments, then slips the shoe back on and does the other. She says that doing this on a cool tile or marble floor also helps to cool off her burdened feet.

6. Share A Seat: This can be fun! If your spouse or date snatches a free chair first, go be cozy together! Guys wouldn’t do this, but I’ve often seen female friends share a bar stool, each sort of half sitting, half standing for some extended relief from standing.

7. Support Hose or Support Socks: This, of course, requires planning ahead, but if you’re off to a wedding reception or function where you know there will be standing, women might try support hose and men support socks. The key is to have plenty of wiggle room in the toe area – reducing the blood flow to your feet will cause problems. Go a size up if you need to.

Like many problems, it’s no one thing you do that helps to lessen or resolve the problem, but a combination of things. So try a few of these ideas as you head out for your next “standing” event.

And, by the way, from all of us at Snyder Stuart Podiatry Centers, Happy Holidays!

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