Ballet Exercises - Injured Ankle

Ballet Exercises - Injured Ankle

Hello odette,
My name name is Gwyn Johnson I am sixteen years old and I have always dreamed of being a professional ballerina. I have been doing ballet for about ten years and it my passion. I have been doing other styles of dance for about three years but those ones are just for fun, ballet is what I have always dreamed of making my career in. Not to sound to cocky or anything but I have always been good at ballet and one of the best dancers in my class. Recently i have been having some problems and I would like to tell you why and ask you for your advice on what I should do or if I have pretty much just ended my career before it has even started. Thank you so much for reading. Here is what happened.
At the end of April I sprained my ankle and it was a third dagree sprain. The doctor told me that I was not supposed to dance on it for ten weeks. So I just started dancing again two weeks ago. Before my injurry I was the best one in my class for pointe work and now I can barely even stand on pointe. I used to be able to do a tripple pirouette and now I can't even do a single. I have been doing some theoband exercises but I want to know if there is something else I can do. Are there any exercises that I can do to get my strength back in my ankle? Please help. I really need to know what it is that I can do to fix it. whatever it is I will work as hard and long as it takes so long as it i can keep dancing. Thank you so much for just reading what I have to say.
from Gwyn


Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Exercises - Injured Ankle

Hello Gwyn,
Thank you for your message and I am really glad you contacted me, I have some advice I would really like you to hear.

Firstly, do not panick. It is natural to feel surprised or disheartened that your ability isn't where it was before you got injured. I have to tell you, this is absolutely normal. Even professional ballet dancers get seriously injured through their career and will go through exactly what you have. In fact, one of the dancers in my ballet company has just fractured her ankle and she will be off dancing for at least another six weeks.

The most vital thing when coming back to dance after an injury, is not to rush it. You have to avoid doing too much too soon, otherwise it can just weaken the ankle even more. Fortunately for professionals, they are under clear guidance to get them back on track by a specialised dance physio as well as ballet teachers.

You can still be one of the best in your class and you have to believe in this. You can be, and you will be. If you pace yourself and gradually gain the strength back in that ankle, you can do it.

If you were off dancing for ten weeks, then do not be too hard on yourself because you can no way expect to be as good as you were before those weeks. It will be a gradual process to reach the standard where you were before, but it especially takes time, patience and persistence.

Personally, if you have only just come back to dance 2 weeks ago after 10 weeks off, I would be questioning whether you should even be dancing on pointe yet. You have to get the strength back in the demi-pointe first and work slowly to build up onto pointe.

I know you could dance perfectly on pointe before, but the body needs gradually time to gather the strength to do it again after a long break.

Recovering after an injury is a very individual process for each dancer. It would be great if you could get a thera-band, which you can read more about on my physical therapy equipment page. The resistance work with this band can help strengthen your ankle again.

Feel free to contact me at anytime, but for now I would say be patient and keep working hard to slowly build the strength again.

Best wishes,

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back to pointe?
by: Anonymous

This is Gwyn again. I just wanted to say thanks for the advice. You said it might not be a good idea for me to start pointe again yet, so i was wondering how long until you think i will be ready for it? Thanks again

Ballet Exercises - Injured Ankle
by: Odette

Hi Gwyn,
Thank you for your reply, I am glad I can be to help. Well, starting back on pointe is a very individual matter for you. I am mainly talking from my own experiences, as I have seen many dancers injure their ankles when I was at a vocational dance school. The school put them on extra 'rehab' classes where they would focus specifically on gaining strength again.

So, I am used to injured dancers coming back on a gradual process and slowly coming back to pointe, but this may be a different case for you and your school.

It can depend on different factors like how bad the ankle was injured and how strong your pointe work is to get back to the standard you were before. I just think nothing should be rushed and you have to try to judge this yourself with how your ankles feel. Do you feel they have weakened slightly? Do you feel slightly nervous dancing back on pointe?

If you begin pointe slowly it is fine, but it has to be a gradual process. You can start by just doing barre work and slow rises/ releves, before advancing into center when you have gained the strength again.

Once you feel strong and stable in your ballet classes, you should be fine starting pointe again. Perhaps it is worth talking to your physio again to get an idea of whether it is ok to start pointe depending on your injury.

Best wishes,

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