“Injuries always wake you up, in a way. You reassess your body, and you look at dance from a new perspective.” — Misty Copeland
As a dancer, injuries often seem inevitable. Even though there are certain things we can do to try and prevent them (warming up properly, listening to our bodies), there sometimes no way to stop what the dance gods have in store for us.
I had my own encounter with an injury last fall, and even though it was absolutely dreadful not dancing for a good two months, looking back on it now, I am grateful for it. Hey, it helped me write my college application essay!
After years of thinking I had Achilles tendonitis in my left ankle, I was fed up after the summer of 2011 and decided to go to a podiatrist. Turned out, I had a condition called Os Trigonum- which is basically a fancy medical term for “you have a weird extra floating bone behind your ankle joint”. Apparently, some people live their whole life with this little tooth-sized bone, but it is noticed mostly in ballet dancers and soccer players.
Enough with the medical talk. So, I decided to get the bone surgically removed that September. It was definitely not a blast hobbling around on crutches at school, but the recovery time wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. The hardest part, though, was NOT DANCING! I’m sure you can relate, if you ever get the antsy, I-need-to-dance-now feeling after even a week off. It was just plain torture for me.
But I got through it! And if you’re stuck with either a few days, weeks, or months off, I can sympathize with you. The best thing to do is to not think too much about what you’re not doing, and focus instead on what you CAN do. I spent this time catching up with friends and focusing on other hobbies (ahem, watching all seasons of Friends).
Today, I am grateful for the time I took off, because it helped me appreciate dance that much more when I came back. It is a huge motivator, and if you are in a similar situation, try to look at the positives, and you will get through it too!
Share any of your injury experiences below!