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This holiday season choose comfort over fashion and skip the high heels, says Dr. Jason Ahuero.

Thinking about sporting your highest heels during this year’s holiday excursions? Think again.

According to a foot and ankle surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine, you should be sensible about your heel height when participating in holiday activities such as shopping and parties.

According to Dr. Jason Ahuero, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Baylor, wearing high heels too often can lead to problems such as forefoot pain and ankle sprains.

Ahuero has the following tips for wearing heels this holiday season:

  • Avoid heels for long periods of time – consider wearing flats
  • Alternate heel height and avoid excessively high heels
  • Practice walking in heels and make sure they are comfortable – roughen up the bottom surface to avoid slipping on wet or icy surfaces
  • Be mindful of how much alcohol you are consuming – it can impair your balance

He makes these suggestions when shopping for heels:

  • Measure your foot every time – there is much variability between shoe makers
  • Don’t compromise for an uncomfortable shoe – if it’s uncomfortable at the store, don’t expect that you can break it in
  • Look for a thicker heel rather than a narrower heel for added stability
  • Try shoes on at the end of the day when feet are likely to be more swollen

If pain occurs after a day or night in heels, Ahuero suggests avoiding heels for a few days and icing and elevating your feet to alleviate the pain. If the pain persists after a few days, consult a physician.

Ahuero also notes that heavy purses and bags during the holiday shopping season can lead to lower back and hip pain. He suggests packing light when you can, wearing a crossbody bag or alternating between both shoulders when carrying a heavy bag.