This is the story of how I gave up Irish dancing for Lent.  Don't worry, this will eventually be a very inspiring story because it's actually still a work in progress.  This story is about how I destroyed 60% of my ankle.

Two weeks ago at dance class, everything was normal.  I led the class in the usual warm ups.  We did our normal drills across the floor.  It only took one second for it all to change.  I decided to try for some extra height on my plushenko because hey, that's what drills are for.  I prepped, I jumped, I spun, and then something went wrong.  I came down from the jump, landing on the side of my foot.  I immediately felt things popping and contorting.  The pain was immediate.  As I hobbled to the side of the dance floor, all I could concentrate on was not crying. I sat down and was given ice, all the while fighting immense pain.  With a small crisis taken care of, dance class continued as normal.  As the ice and Advil I had taken began numbing the pain, I knew I should leave dance class and begin the trek to my car and eventually home.  Standing up to leave, that's when the tears I was doing my best not to shed came.  One of the guy dancers assured me that this is probably the best time for this sort of thing to happen anyways--I'm not preparing for worlds.  There are no competitions coming up for me.  I will heal.

One hour
The next day I went in to the podiatrist.  It was immediately clear to him that I did something horribly wrong, and luckily he didn't want to manipulate it and poke at it too much.  I then had x-rays to look for broken bones.  In truth, I wanted a broken bone.  Once they heal, you are golden with only a little physical therapy to strengthen it back up.  Tissue damage takes longer to heal, and if it heals wrong, surgery is involved. Nothing really showed up on my x-ray, other than a healing stress fracture in my first metatarsal (which I didn't know about).  I was then told to get an MRI.

Six days.
My MRI was scheduled for Monday morning, the results were sent to my podiatrist, which bring us to Tuesday afternoon.  He walked in the exam room and said, "You did a good job on your ankle."  Unfortunately, there was no fracture.  No, instead, I tore three ligaments, one completely, and two others only partially, effectively damaging 60% of the ligaments that hold my foot onto my leg.  It was then that I asked the vital question here: will I dance again?  My podiatrist then asked if I was going after a professional career, and I said no, just trying to qualify for the world championships in the spring of 2013.  The good news is that yes I will dance again and that I need to put his name somewhere on my list of sponsors (joking)!  The bad news is that it will be a few months after lots of PT and hoping my ligaments don't heal too loosely (surgery would be needed), and hoping that I don't get tendinitis.  I was put in a boot and told to come back in three weeks.  Maybe then I'll be off my crutches...

Now, two weeks after the fact, I am about to go in to dance class for a short bit this evening to let everyone know what happened.  Can't wait to see their faces when I tell them what really happened after I so calmly handled (I thought) doing this damage.  Hopefully I will be able to help out with various St. Patrick's day activities since I won't be dancing!

Goals: Heal up!


  1. Anonymous22.2.12

    Oh honey, I feel your pain! I am just getting off a 9 week break from dance due to an injury. I kept my spirits up by working on things I normally ignore. I used the time to work on my flexibility. (I highly recommend the stretching boards on dance.net) In that time, I've seen a HUGE improvement. Other things you can work on are turnout and crossover muscles... By making this into a positive experience, you can keep your disappointment at bay!! Wishing you a speedy and FULL recovery!

  2. Oh my God!! I understand your pain. I hope you feel better!!

  3. Cécile from France23.2.12

    Poor you, I'm so sorry! Be patient, it's possible to come back after a big injury. I had to stop dancing for 3 months because I had torn a muscle in my shin and even if I was very afraid I'd get injured again and it felt like I was never going to get to the level I had been at, well I eventually did and I'm actually better now that I was before I had my injury 4 yeasr ago. So hang on!

  4. I'm so sorry, it really is the worst feeling not being able to dance. But as your friend said, count yourself lucky it's not before any majors. One of my best friends broke her foot at a feis two weeks before her first oireachtas, she was absolutely gutted. She did do a lot of stretching while she was out like the person above said, so hopefully that'll keep you going. Hang in there, you'll be back dancing before you know it!

  5. Thank-you for your positive attitude & inspiring story, keeping us updated on your healing process. The pictures are heart-wrenching.


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