Tips for managing arthritis pain during summer concerts with Dr. Gurusamy

Originally posted in the Williamson Herald

Summer is here, and festival season is upon us. Whether you’re planning to attend a music festival or simply enjoy some live music on a summer night, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy concerts in and around Music City this year. Although there’s lots of fun to be had as a festivalgoer, the heat and long hours can make for a grueling day, especially if you suffer from a pre-existing condition like arthritis.

Dr. Preet Gurusamy, orthopaedic surgeon at Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee, provides tips on how to manage and prevent arthritis pain while jamming out to your favorite artists.

What to wear:

“Dressing appropriately is an important way to ensure you enjoy the concert, and that starts with the proper footwear,” said Dr. Gurusamy.

Not all footwear is created equal, and patients with arthritis should seek shoes with ample support for the foot and ankle. Look for athletic shoes with wide toe boxes and deep cushioning to prevent arthritis pain. Dr. Gurusamy advises music fans to avoid flip flops or sandals, which can increase the risk of foot and ankle pain.

If you suffer from knee arthritis, a knee brace may be a needed concert accessory.

“Braces can be effective for patients with knee pain or arthritis,” said Dr. Gurusamy. “For specific types of knee arthritis, they can be a very effective form of relief.”

Bone and Joint Institute offers unloading braces which are known to improve pain and function in the joint. Soft braces can also help relieve pain by adding compression to the knee joint, Dr. Gurusamy says.

“As with any outdoor activity, remember to wear light clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen to combat the heat. Taking care of your body is very important, especially in these hot summer months,” said Dr. Gurusamy.

What to bring:

In addition to the right wardrobe, packing a bag with a few festival essentials can make a huge difference in the quality of your day.

“It’s a good idea to bring anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil, Naproxen or Motrin to be taken either proactively or if you start having pain,” said Dr. Gurusamy. “Make sure to take the medicine as directed with food and plenty of water.”

Festivalgoers may also want to bring Voltaren gel, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory ointment that can be applied directly to the hip or knee to relieve arthritis pain.

“If you are able, it may be beneficial to bring some type of camping chair as well,” said Dr. Gurusamy. “It can prevent you from having to get up and down off the ground at the concert which can cause unnecessary pain.”

How to prepare:

“When deciding to attend a concert or festival, it’s important to be prepared to be on your feet all day,” said Dr. Gurusamy. “Being prepared to manage arthritis pain starts days before the event.”

Bone and Joint Institute offers multiple types of injections that can temporarily relieve joint pain for an upcoming event. Dr. Gurusamy recommends getting a cortisone injection, if indicated, about 48 hours before attending a concert or receiving Viscosupplementation, a type of gel injection, one week prior to attendance.  Patients should always consult with their orthopaedic physician prior to scheduling these types of injections.

“A well-timed injection in the knee or hip can provide relief so that you can enjoy the event,” said Dr. Gurusamy.

He also reminds music lovers to hydrate 24 hours before and also during the event. He recommends increasing electrolyte intake at the festival, taking breaks as needed and not pushing themselves to do too much.

“If you do experience pain while attending a concert, we are here to help you with an evaluation and treatment plan that matches your needs,” said Dr. Gurusamy. “Hopefully, these tips will keep you pain-free and enjoying music all summer long.”

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