If you are planning on visiting the Disney World Theme Parks any time soon, be prepared to walk.
We go to Disney very frequently, however we do not always spend all day there.
As Florida Residents and Annual Passholders, we have the luxury of going to Disney World for a few hours, then driving back to the comfort of our own home.
However, sometimes we spend over 10 hours at the parks, during which time we easily rack up 30,000 steps.
On one day in particular, our feet, ankles, and knees could definitely feel each and every one of those steps.
This doesn’t mean that you have to suffer like we did this day!
In this article, I will tell you what happened to our bodies and how you can prevent and manage the foot, ankle, knee, hip, and lower back pain that comes from (multiple) long days of 30k+ steps at Disney.
First, we will start with my problems.
I broke my right ankle when I was 14, and have sprained it twice since then.
For this reason, one of my legs is a little longer than the other.
No big deal right?
Well, when you multiply that asymmetry by 30,000, it becomes significant.
My right calf muscles normally have to work overtime to try to balance out my hips.
So, near the end of our Disney day, my right ankle and heel started feeling extremely tight.
Not to mention I was getting a lot of pain and inflammation in my right Achilles tendon.
How could I have prepared for this?
Simple: adding a heel lift to my right shoe.
This would have made my hips level and decreased the demand on my calf muscles with every step.
Now for my lovely fiance, Alexia.
Her main issues were her knees.
She has a history of hypermobile (“too loose”) ankles, and has worked hard to help correct this.
However, a lot of her strain goes to her knees as a result.
While her knees usually bother her on and off, the increased stress of walking all day at Disney irritated her knees.
How could she have prepared better?
Doing the stretches and activation exercises for her hips and knees (her “kneehab” exercises) before going to the parks and while in the parks would have helped her manage her knee pain better at the parks.
So, how do YOU prepare yourself for several days of walking over 30,000 steps a day?
The first thing you need to do is start practicing.
Start walking every day, increasing your steps every day, week, or month (depending on when your theme park stay is) and be mindful of what tends to hurt you more.
Is it your ankle? Foot? Knee? Hips? Back?
Then, figure out what exercises make you feel better.
Perhaps you need an orthotic?
Or new shoes?
Or certain stretching and activation exercises?
This is where it gets difficult, but being mindful and testing different techniques and exercises will greatly benefit you in the long run.
Or, in this case, the long walk.
Check out the Services page of our website and click where you get the pain.
This will lead you to free tips and strategies on managing this pain.
Because Pain is Not Magical.