Marching Band...What Could Go Wrong? - Jeffrie C. Leibovitz, DPM

Marching Band…What Could Go Wrong?

As the marching band members rehearse and fine-tune their musical instruments, the feet bear the brunt of repetitive motion.  Long four-hour summer practices can produce 15,000 – 20,000 steps.  Each step can generate 2 – 4 times the body weight plus your instrument. There is a big difference between the Piccolo, Tuba, and Drums.  Band members should pay attention to foot, ankle, and leg discomfort, as these can be an early warning of potential overuse issues.

To make sure your feet maintain their rhythm without skipping a beat, you must wear appropriate footwear, take strategic breaks, and stretch your muscles regularly. Our team emphasizes the importance of recognizing the early signs of strain.

As the marching band members rehearse their moves and fine-tune their musical masterpieces, the feet bear the brunt of repetitive motion and sudden bursts of activity. To prevent strain, our team emphasizes the importance of recognizing the signs. “Musicians should pay attention to discomfort or pain, as these can be early indicators of potential issues,” we say. A harmony of proper footwear, strategic rest breaks, and targeted foot exercises can help ensure the feet maintain their rhythm without skipping a beat.

Marching Band Should be Under the Athletic Department

Lower extremity problems are not isolated to cross-country, soccer, and football.  The constant, high-impact footwork that percussionists engage in can lead to a variety of foot ailments if not properly managed.

We recommend a proactive approach of stretching, and proper footwear to help alleviate the stress that comes from all that footwork.  The way the foot works and biomechanics are great predictors of foot and ankle problems.

marching band feet

Gravity Friend or Foe

With the added weight of an instrument and uniform, including the student, we can multiply the combined weight by 2 (up to 4x), to find the total force that comes down on the ankle with EACH step!! Choose your instrument wisely! Take the weight of a flute ( 1.2 lbs.) vs. a Tuba (25 lbs) for a practice session of 5000 steps. Have the student do the math…

That is an additional 119 tons of force for the tuba player! It is amazing that any band members survive camp. Gravity can be very mean at times. On a good note- with gravity, you do not have to tie a string on your child to keep them from floating away.

Marching band drums

Teenagers Will Be Teenagers

There are other problems related to being a teenager. Athlete’s foot, warts, and ingrown nails can be a show stopper. Does the room clear out (including the dog) when the student removes their shoes? This is from bacteria and fungus breaking down the sweat.  Your student may never mention that they have a red swollen toe from an ingrown nail, so look for red spots on their socks from drainage. You know their attention to detail – they may not even notice this.

The Halftime Show is Better Than the Game

All band parents, band grandparents, and band relatives know that the halftime show is the best part of the evening.  Their students spent most of the summer preparing for competition but the halftime show is the “Fun” of the season. Make sure your child makes it to the performance and does not get sidelined with a band injury. With our guidance, they can march to the rhythm of healthier and happier feet, ensuring that the show goes on with both grace and comfort.

In the vibrant tapestry of marching band experiences, our feet bear the rhythm and weight of our passions. Just as we fine-tune our instruments, we must not neglect the crucial role our feet play. So, let’s take a step toward lasting harmony – contact our office to ensure your musical, marching journey remains a symphony of joy, unburdened by foot injuries. Your feet, the steadfast drumbeat of your performance, deserve the best care they can get.