The Ballet Physio

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coping with an injury

Luke shares a few insights into dealing with the frustrations and struggles of coping with an injury.  

Hello dancers. It’s Luke, the Ballet Physio here. 

 

Today I wanted to share a personal story. I have a problem with my knee at the moment, and it’s a little bit embarrassing actually to be a physio walking around on crutches, but I don’t know why I’m embarrassed. Most people will get injuries at some point. 

This is not actually an injury, it’s an inflammation that’s sort of happening on its own. It’s not through any movement that I did or any accident that I had, and I just wanted to share a few insights into what my experience is of having a joint problem that’s making me struggle to get around as I’m sure a lot of my patients have experienced before. 

“And a lot of dancers, if they haven’t yet, will experience it probably at some point. So it’s frustrating, isn’t it?”

It’s frustrating to get around on crutches. You don’t have your hands free, everything takes longer. I sweat a lot because it’s warm, and it’s much warmer to walk around on crutches as well. Something that I’m also finding challenging at the moment is that I don’t know how long it’s going to take to get better. And I remember that I often will explain to my patients, this will probably take between four to six weeks, but we don’t know exactly. Sometimes it takes less time, sometimes it takes more time.

And that uncertainty can be really difficult to sort of get your head around. You kind of think, “well, I want to make a definite plan”, but often when it comes to medicine, there are no definite plans. We know roughly how long people in general take, but because everyone’s different and everyone’s condition is different, it’s impossible to put an exact timeframe on it. So that can be a challenge as the person on the receiving end of that, to think, “well, what do I plan for?”.

 

Some other challenges that come about too is that it’s uncomfortable, so it means that I’m not walking as normal. As I said, I’m on crutches. I can limp around for short distances, but of course, you should try and avoid that, which I do. I do it for short distances only. It’s still good to get some pressure through my knee at the moment with the way that it is. Sometimes it’s important to have no pressure through it at all, so that’s a different situation.

“And that’s another point actually is that everyone’s situation is different.”
So even in my own experience, when I tell people I have a sore knee, they often try and offer me advice. “Oh, have you tried this?” Without actually knowing what’s going on in my knee, so always take that sort of advice with a grain of salt. Just because someone had a sore knee before, doesn’t mean it’s anything to do with your sore knee or whatever other part of your body you have that’s struggling at the time.
The other thing that I wanted to share as well is that it can be challenging too, when you can’t do the normal things that you like to do. So if you’re a dancer, then your injury might be stopping you from dancing. For me, I’m a tennis player so I can’t play tennis at the moment. I also like to go to the gym for just health and for strengthening and for being fit, and also it helps me sleep in the evening too. When you make yourself more physically tired during the day, your sleep is better. So I can’t do very much of that at the moment either, just some upper body weights on the weights machines at the gym. So that can be a frustrating thing as well.

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