The yellow and black flags are starting to fly, signifying the start of yet another glorious festival season in Louisiana! Two of our biggest fests happen this month – French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest and we want to help you get in PRIME “festing” shape!
People ask me all the time if I ever notice or analyze how strangers walk, stand, or carry themselves out in public. The answer is, “of course!” I can’t help it – that’s how I’m programmed. One thing that stands out to me the most while I’m at a festival is all the people wearing various types of leg braces. You can tell that a whole lot of people are preparing themselves for a long day on their feet.
This also brings attention to the fact there are so many people suffering with hip, knee, and ankle pain. For this article, I want to bring special attention to the care of your knees. They’re important, work hard, and deserve the limelight this month.
Our knees, and specifically the cushion between them acts as our biggest shock absorber in the leg. Over time, it’s natural for that cushioning to wear down, causing degrees of knee pain and stiffness. But, not to worry – you can still bounce around to the Lost Bayou Ramblers and Rebirth with a little wear and tear. It’s not until your cushioning wears out completely and you’re what doctors like to call “bone-on-bone” that the curtain closes on your festival fun.
Let’s not let it get to that point. It’s going to be a long festival season and your knees have to feel good enough to groove to the Radiators and swing to songs of Irma! Give these tips a try to keep your knees happy and healthy.
1. Stretch Your Legs Before And After.
Have a handful of hip, knee, and ankle stretches you do before you leave and when you get back from your day of festing!
*We suggest a hamstring stretch, windshield wipers, figure 4 stretch, and a runner's stretch to touch on some of the most important areas of your legs. Check out these videos for a quick demonstration of each.
2. Wear Supportive Shoes.
Before you leave, make sure you have on a good pair of supportive shoes. It doesn’t have to be the cute ones or the ones that match your outfit the best. Trust me, nobody is looking at your feet in a sea of people (unless they’re a physical therapist 😉)
3. Change Positions Frequently.
Bring a chair or a blanket so you have the option to sit every now then. You don’t want to get stuck spending all day on your feet, and you can’t count on an open chair in the Gospel or Jazz tents! On the flip side, it’s equally as bad to sit all day. If you do, I hope you bring a can of oil because you’ll feel like the Tin Man/ Woman.
4. Use A Compression Garment.
If you’re prone to swelling in your lower legs after a lot of standing, have some compression socks handy for when you get home. Slide them on and prop up your feet to help speed up recovery.
After you get home and you’ve got your compression socks on with your feet propped up, top it all off with a nice ice pack draped over the knees. We like the “FlexiKold” brand in the over-sized variety on Amazon.