I was hit with pain when I stepped off the curb. My ankle twisted. I caught myself between two cars. Fellow dancers rushed over as I processed the shock of what I had just done. They ran to get ice as I hobbled to my driver seat. Leg elevated out the window, I sipped water as my friends held the ice and looked on with concern.
It’s been years since I’ve had an “acute” injury. Other injuries I’ve experienced from dance have been chronic, overuse injuries. This was new.
The next day, I woke up with no pain or swelling. I wrapped up my foot and headed to my training class. Over the day, I did some exercises and assessed my balance. I felt fine. I even danced on it at a holiday party that evening.
The second day, I noticed the swelling when I woke up, but it wasn’t until I unwrapped it after lunch that I saw the tennis ball sized cankle that had become my ankle. Fear and shock took hold as the idea that something was really wrong set in. What hit me the hardest was that I couldn’t really feel pain.
What happens when the physical cues you expect to warn you of danger don’t show up?
At the ER, they diagnosed it as a bad sprain. I went home on crutches and was given a boot two days later. No dancing for me for awhile but I’ve learned several things in this experience. These can be applied to injuries and to LIFE:
Don’t wait for the pain. Try to understand what’s going on now before the "swelling" hits.
Don’t wait to be healed to dance. An injury is an opportunity to get creative within limits.
What happens to our bodies mirrors our experiences in life. My body seems to be telling me I’m trying to do too much.
Outlook is everything. When you’re comfortable and confident in yourself and your ability to heal, the injury to your body and mind is only temporary.
It’s a great excuse to say no! No to dates I don’t care about going on. No to classes I don’t feel like taking. No to what wears me out beyond the physical, so I can say yes to things that truly matter.
The image above was taken on my birthday when I decided I would not let my injury hold me back from wearing my new favorite stiletto (singular) to my birthday dinner.
What have you learned from your injuries?