Ahh injuries, most of us have been there in some way in some form or another. I have been on again off again injured since I was 14.
When I was in 9th grade I sprained both of my ankles within the span of a month or so. Firstly I sprained my right ankle at a competition. It wasn’t a huge sprain and it didn’t hurt too much. So we bought a wrap and brace and I continued to dance. However, I was being cautious as to not sprain it again. I did a couple more competitions and I still was not having any issues.
Fast forward to about a month later and I went to another feis. I was dancing my reel and was feeling fairly confident about it and it was the best I had ever felt about a dance in a while. Then on my last step one foot caught behind the other and I fell. Hard. My foot made some unpleasant noises. That night we went to the ER and it turned out that it wasn’t broken, but it was very baldly sprained. I was only supposed to be out of dance for about a month or so, but things kept happening and I wasn’t able to dance for 3 months.
So, I went to physical therapy for a while and the pain eventually went away. But not for long. So, through out the rest of the year I kept having on and off pain, but nothing too serious. I was eventually dancing with no pain again. Even the next year my feet weren’t giving me too many problems.
The real problems came around last year right in the thick of any Irish Dancer’s busiest time of the year, St. Patrick’s Day. So that’s fun… I decided after St. Patrick’s Day I would take 6 weeks off from dance to give my ankles a chance to heal. After the 6 weeks were up I went back to dance and I was fine for the first few minutes of class, but as class went on I started to notice the pain was getting worse.
We had to visit my Dr. We found out I had tendinitis in both of my ankles. I was pretty much expecting to hear that. However, I was not expecting to hear the suggestion that I should quit dance altogether. I was not going to do that, nor was I ready to do that. So my mom did some research and she found a Physical Therapy center that was known for their work with athletes right near my studio. In fact, they had two physical therapists who worked with dancers. That was the first huge relief for me.
The second huge relief came when my physical therapist told me that we could work to fix my ankle problems and that it would not just be a temporary fix, like the first time I went to PT. Of course it was going to take a lot of work on my end, but if it meant I could keep dancing I was all for it.
After about 3 months of PT, I noticed that I was having less pain while I was dancing. For a while I was doing really well. However about 2 months after that, is when the pain started to come back, I was pushing myself too hard and too much all at once. So, I had to regroup and start over. I talked to my physical therapist ad my dance teacher and made some changes in class.
Now a couple months later the pain in my ankles has subsided. I’m now in personal training and working on maintaining my ankle strength, my posture, and strengthening my core. I am definitely looking forward to what future competitions might hold for me.