Easter It is synonymous with processions. Specialists advise that all those faithful who will act as brothers and bearers in any of them, take the necessary measures to take care of your health during the extensive journeys that involve this type of celebration.

Being one of the protagonists of the long processions, carrying on their shoulders the weight of a step or throne of Holy Week supposes a physical effort that can leave sequels during several days in the body, especially at osteoarticular level: the injuries that occur with More frequent are contractures, low back pain, inflammations of the trapezius and cervical muscles, and pain in the quadriceps. Therefore, experts from the Hospital Quirón de Málaga and the USP Sagrado Corazón de Sevilla clinic wanted to give some advice to the costaleros to try to prevent these problems.

  • On the same day of the procession, several stretches of those joints that will be most affected, such as the shoulders, neck and legs, should be performed.
  • Monitor that inappropriate positions are not adopted, because this, by itself, can cause an avoidable injury.
  • The footwear should be as comfortable and flexible as possible (try it a few days before), because this will prevent tendinitis, because if we carry weight when walking, walking changes.
  • Change each hour more or less the shoulder weight, to minimize the consequences that can be derived from a prolonged load.
  • Use pads thick enough so that the weight rests on them, and avoid friction on the body.
  • Regarding the position to be had, the key is to look ahead, contract the abdominal muscles in order to protect the lower back-for which it is also advisable to use a specific belt-relax your shoulders, and try not to bend the wrists or the elbows.
  • It is very important to stay properly hydrated, as well as to take foods rich in sugar of rapid absorption, during the whole journey.
  • At the end of the procession, applying cold can help reduce the consequences of stress on the joints.
  • If you notice a continuous pain, taking an anti-inflammatory can relieve you.
  • Those under 18 and those over 50 should avoid this type of activity.

Tips for pedestrians and spectators of the processions

But in addition to the costaleros, some problems may also suffer the processions continue on foot for hours or those waiting for your arrival standing in the same place for a long time. The feet are here without doubt the most sacrificed and, therefore, experts recommend that if you intend to spend many hours outdoors to enjoy the festivities of Holy Week, before proceeding to a good examination of the feet.

In addition, they advise washing the feet using acid soap and warm water before leaving home, taking care to dry the area between the fingers well, and soak their feet five minutes just before leaving home. The nails should be cut in a square shape to avoid tapping the ends on the fingers.

They also recommend that the stockings or socks that are worn on those days do not tighten, nor have seams that could leave marks, and that we try to choose those that are made with natural and soft fabrics that facilitate perspiration. In the same line, the footwear must be of leather, with a flexible sole and the firm buttress, not having internal seams and allowing the free movement of the fingers. They advise, in addition, that the heel does not exceed four centimeters, and avoid footwear with hard toes, which has not yet been released, or that is deformed by use.

Once the procession is finished and to soothe the feet, contrast baths can be made, which consist of introducing the feet in cold water for a few minutes and, immediately, in hot water. This is repeated for a minimum of 20 minutes, always alternating the temperature of the water, and helps to reduce the swelling because it reactivates the blood circulation. Another option is to massage the feet gently - for which you can even use a cream with menthol - starting with your fingers and even your heels, and keep them upright for a few minutes.

And if blisters have come out, or some other lesion on the feet, it is not convenient to remove the skin, but a disinfectant should be applied, covering the lesion with a dressing, and consult the podiatrist.

Rick Steves' European Easter (November 2019).