Lindsey Vonn's cheese-wrapped legs and other home remedy tips for Olympic Village


Gold medal favorite, American downhill skier Lindsey Vonn may be a little ways away from home in Vancouver, B.C., and far away from the storied mountains of Austria, but it was to an Austrian home remedy that she turned when her shin began giving her "excruciating pain." At first, Vonn said she was eschewing pain medication -- even the surprisingly wide range of prescription and over-the-counter medications allowed by anti-doping rules -- in favor of Austrian topfen cheese, a curd cheese (somewhat like cottage cheese and equivalent to the Eastern European quark) slathered all over her leg. Later, on Thursday morning, she updated her Twitter status to read "So I took a bunch of pain killers and numbed my shin with some creams."

Cheese-wrapping is not, it must be said, a remedy recommended by orthopedic surgeons, Olympic ski team doctors, or the chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic team -- who said, rather tersely, something like "the care being given by his team of medical staff is evidence-based medicine." Topfen cheese is the sort of thing one could make in a home kitchen, or in a particularly well-equipped vacation one; take a half-gallon of milk, heat to between 104-108 degrees, and add a cup of starter culture (which is just milk, scalded, plus plain yogurt or buttermilk). Let sit in a thermos or yogurt maker for about three hours, until sour; then set in a strainer lined with cheesecloth overnight. While it's more expensive than, say, generic-brand acetaminophen, it's a relative (compared to surgery and ultrasound and aspiration of blood) bargain.