We are all getting back into the swing of things over the next month or so with our children going back to school. I live in Florida and all three of my kids are back in full swing. In Florida, parents are apparently divided right now on whether or not to have their kids wear masks but are all uniformly in agreement that car rider line is not perfect, to put it nicely.
I naively approached my children's first day of school with hope and cheer in my heart, as they embark on new journeys, new adventures and I was excited for them to not be playing Minecraft all day long, lol. My children are all attending new schools for them this year and I was basically a fish out of water and learning the ropes all over again on process and procedures of drop off and pick up of kids. I actually thought I beat the system, only having to drop one of the three children off at school because my older daughter can drive her and her sister to school. Drop off for my youngest begins at 8am. I live 15 minutes away, get in car at 7:30am arrive at 7:45am only to find that a million(yes exaggeration but a lot anyway)cars are already lined up. I am lucky enough to be self employed and have already adjusted my work schedule to not start until 9am and my office is only 10 minutes away, so my stress level is low.
As I really did enjoy spending time with my youngest talking in car rider line this week and listening to her favorite singer Taylor Swift, this morning part really doesn't seem to be a hardship for me. But in between my daughter telling me why Taylor Swift is such a great person and having me quiz her on the parts of the brain, I felt a horrible pain in my right upper leg! The constant start, stop, start then stop of car rider line was killing my quadriceps muscle in my upper thigh. As I suffered silently and continued to hear about the difference between the cerebrum and cerebellum, I couldn't help but think "Am I out of shape? I work out 5 days a week and this little motion of the brake and gas is killing me! ugh". My child exited the car about 45 minutes after we got into the car line. I went to work and then at around 2 pm I took off to pick up my one high school student(her older sister that drove her to school is done at like 10am and then leaves for classes at the local community college). Approximately one hour and thirty minutes later, I had my sweet middle child in the car, at this point my leg is on fire! I actually contemplated using my left leg at one point. My youngest school is only less than a half a mile down the road from the high school. I got to spend so much quality time with my middle child as we waited another hour to retrieve the youngest! At this point I am wondering if I will be able to get out of the car as my quads are on fire on my right leg.
The tiny micro motion from going to brake to gas that we experience in car rider line is firing this muscle group a little differently and causing this burning in our thigh.
It is only the first week of school, the car line will get better(that is what I keep telling myself and my thigh). But for now I have a couple common sense suggestions for you to avoid Car Rider Line Leg Syndrome-CRLLS( I have now progressed this to a syndrome, lol). One, stretch your quads before leaving the house. The simplest stretch that you will get a lot of benefit from with minimal effort is the stretch below.
Stabilize yourself with a kitchen counter top if need be grab your ankle and pull that leg up. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and then switch legs. I would reccommend this stretch is done at least 3 times for 20 seconds on the CRLLS leg. Just doing this simple thing can help prevent the burning in the thigh during car line.
If you happen to have a roller, I have a runner at home this is the only reason I have this lol, rolling the tight thigh out like the picture below is so helpful. It is awkward for a middle aged mom like me to do, but it really helps.
Position the foam roller in the middle of the thigh like the picture above and roll back and forth from the hip to the knee. This actually burns a little when you first start but feels so much better after. This will definitely improve your symptoms of CRLLS.
Good luck to everyone who is starting the school year now. As it is impossible to not think about Covid and the latest surge in cases, especially here in Florida, I wish everyone a safe return to school. Our two oldest children are fully vaccinated and all three of our children wear masks in school. I am not telling anyone what they should do, just letting everyone know what two doctors are having their kids do to help prevent them from getting sick or spreading sickness to others.
Center for Ankle and Foot Care
Michele McGowan DPM