Your Big Day has finally arrived, and you’ve both said “I do.” Now, the real fun begins. You enter the reception hall as the new Mr. and Mrs., but do you know how to avoid the potential injuries that await you and your guests?
The bride twists her ankle while dancing in heels: Ankle sprains are extremely common, to the tune of 25,000 people experiencing one every day. With 2.5 million weddings happening yearly in U.S., that’s a lot of potential sprains! So, what’s a girl to do?
Proprioceptive training can significantly reduce your risk of spraining your ankle. What does that mean? Well, in a nutshell, you have to train your ankle to know when it’s reaching a dangerous position that might cause it to “roll” – a common term for ankle sprains.
Give balance training a try: stand on one foot with your eyes open and progress to your eyes being closed, walk on your toes, and walk on your heels. All that balance training might also help prevent other wedding day calamities: tripping on the runner while you’re walking down the aisle, or catching your pump’s heel on your wedding dress during the first dance, just to name a couple.
The groom pulls a muscle while doing a split on the dance floor: Men aren’t immune to wedding day high jinx either. Make sure you’re keeping limber in the days leading up to the big day. How can you be graceful like Gene Kelly?
Stretching can not only prevent injury, but it might actually enhance performance. Before you channel your inner James Brown, make sure you “feel good” by stretching your hamstrings, adductors (inner thigh muscles), and quadriceps.
Your feet are killing you on the dance floor: During a night of busting a move, sore feet – heel or ball of the foot pain – in those perfect pumps are no surprise. The solution?
You can minimize the effects of all that get-down-and-boogying by keeping your calves and the soles of your feet flexible. A standing calf stretch – both with straight knees and then with bent knees – every morning and every night will help you dance that extra two-step on wedding night. Make sure you hold each stretch for 30 seconds.
You fall while trying to catch the bouquet/garter: No NBA contest sees the kind of boxing-out and vicious air battles that a bouquet or garter toss does. How can your bachelors and bachelorettes gain a competitive edge?
Plyometric training is the answer. Plyometrics train themuscles to fire in a rapid or explosive way through specialized repeated jumping. Jump higher and that bouquet is sure to be theirs! Also critical to a successful, injury-free bouquet or garter toss is sticking the landing, which they’ll gain as a side effect of all that jump training.
You strain your back while lifting all of your wedding gifts: You’ve made it this far without a single bump or bruise. It’s the home stretch. All that’s left is going through the gifts. As you’re trying to move that 150-piece fine China set from the floor to a table, make sure you’re mindful of your body mechanics. What can you do to achieve that?
Don’t bend forward at your hips. Get in nice and close, squat, and lift that box while keeping it tucked in to your body. Keep your stomach muscles tight and never twist while lifting. Wait until you’re upright, then find a safe place to drop it (gently, of course).
To ensure an injury-free Big Day, try to find time to do some of these exercises in between dress and tuxedo fittings, picking the perfect music, choosing table settings, and going over catering menus. Piece of wedding cake, right?
Ron Alzate, Partner, Clinical Director
of Professional Physical Therapy
in Times Square