I'm recovering from an injury and my PT tells me I'm ready to take class. But I have a huge mental block and a lot of fear. Help! —Caitlin
Coming back from an injury is scary at first—things that were easy are shaky, and your body may not feel exactly the same. But if your therapist feels you can handle adding class back into your routine, you need to trust his or her professional expertise. You won't feel 100 percent for a while, and that's perfectly normal. But that doesn't mean you'll never bounce back.
When I came back from my first major injury, a stress fracture in my ankle, I learned that the mind is a very important ally during the recovery process. That fear you're talking about? I let it get in the way of my progress. I still had a residual ache in my foot, and coming down from pirouettes was particularly scary. I started compensating and "lost" my double pirouette to the left—and developed a major psychological block about turning. Looking back, I wish I had given myself permission to be imperfect and work slowly during my recovery.
It's important to develop
a strong relationship with
your doctor and physical therapist.
Class will be a series of trials and errors as you feel out your body and build strength. That's why it's important to develop a strong relationship with your doctor and physical therapist so that you can easily communicate any concerns.
It may sound strange, but try to see this recovery period as a luxury—when else can you slow down and rebuild the basics of your technique? Sure, it will be frustrating. But don't let that stop you—you may come back stronger than ever.
Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor in chief and former dancer Amy Brandt at firstname.lastname@example.org.