A Series: Part 2
Clunk-clunk-clunk. We all know that dreaded sound from a mile away. Something had been bothering her, she went to the doctor, and next thing you know there is an associated clunking sound featured in her walking. The boot…dun-dun-dun (stereotypic dramatic noise). While I had seen many co-workers and peers deal with the boot, I had never actually encountered it myself until this summer.
As with most things it started as a little ache, a pain that could be easily relieved with two Tylenol and an Epsom salt bath. But as the days went on, I felt my alignment was off. I had this little feeling in my gut that was increasingly hard to ignore.
We have two wonderful people who constantly support the artists; Maryanne Johnson, Dance Medicine Physical Therapist at New Heights Performance, and Dr. Moser, Sports Medicine Physician through Twin Cities Orthopedics (did I mention that Ballet Co.Laboratory is partnering with them this upcoming season?!). Both amazing professionals worked together and discovered my minor stress injury on my fourth and fifth metatarsals. While I was fortunate enough to avoid a full-blown fracture, I needed recovery time in a boot. I required about 6 weeks of rest before beginning strengthening back into the regular routine.
The dreaded word injury. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times you get injured, there really isn’t any easy way to deal with it. You’re bored, you’re hurt, you can’t do what you love, and you have that extra added clunk to remind you of it everywhere you go. So then, what do you do with your time? Here are a few things that people have shared with me, and some added things that I found helped during the long weeks.
Doing your Physical Therapy exercises. This is number one for me. Because in addition to aiding in the strength and healing of the injury, I also felt like I was being productive and doing something I knew was really going to help me.
Focus on something else. As dancers, we don’t get a lot of time off to really do much else with our lives. Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do, I focused on what I could. I signed up for two challenging, time consuming classes at the University of Minnesota and knocked eight credits off of earning that college degree. I focused on my brain power instead of my physical power.
Give to somebody else. There’s a phrase; “when you want to be sorry for yourself, go help someone else” (or something along those lines). Instead of feeling down that I couldn’t dance, I helped the students of Ballet Co.Laboratory learn the Sleeping Beauty variations for their Mini-Mester showcase (which by the way, was an amazing show). I left feeling refreshed, and excited to have helped them learn about something I loved.
I am now back on my feet (literally), and ready to perform again. Reflecting on my recovery time, I have realized that there should probably be more of these things in our lives without an injury. In attending to these things, and focusing on getting better, I am back feeling ready; physically and mentally for the upcoming season. Next time you see a colleague or friend accompanied by that friendly little clunk, these few things will help during the tough times.