Ballet is my life and I absolutely love it but, the glorious life of a ballerina comes with some downsides: injuries.
About a year ago I started feeling something in my left foot. In the beginning it was just like it felt more exhausted than the other one. Since it’s already my weaker, but more flexible, foot from the beginning, I thought it was because it was over worked, so I didn’t think much about it.
It wasn’t until just before Christmas that the pain hit me really bad. I can’t remember doing something specific, the pain just gradually increased. During the winter break it was really bad. I couldn’t stretch it at all. Maybe that sounds like “it doesn’t matter” to a normal person, since it was while we had holidays and I didn’t have dance classes anyway, but if you know me, you know I can’t hold myself to not dance when at home or anywhere not in a dance studio. I could walk properly because the pain wasn’t when I flexed my foot. The problem was when I tried to point it, I really couldn’t do it because first of all, the pain, but it must have been swollen inside since it was absolutely impossible to even try to push my foot. The outside of the foot looked totally normal, from what I remember, and I didn’t feel any specific pain when touching the area of the foot- which where behind the ankle bone. The most annoying thing during that period of time wasn’t the fact that my foot was so hurt I could barely use it, expect for walking, it was that we didn’t know what was wrong with it, at all.
When I came back after that break, with no signs of feeling better in my foot, I directly went to a doctor. During this time I, among the two others from my grade and some people from the lower and higher grades were chosen to participate in that year’s Nutcracker at the Royal Swedish opera house, together with the company. It was such an amazing experience and we had so much fun. Overall it was a great time there and I’m very thankful I got to be in that production. Due to the fact that we had to spend all our days at the opera, I couldn’t book an appointment with the doctor at the school. We had classes at the opera, sometimes together with the company, we did all our work from school there, we ate there and we rehearsed there. I had no time to go to school at all. I should mention that my school is a school were we get all the curricular subjects together with the dance classes and this collaboration with the opera was just normal. Since my pain in the foot was so bad I couldn’t even take the classes anymore, I got an appointment with the doctor at the opera house. They said that either it’s an inflammation indicated by an extra bone, which some people might have, or maybe it’s just an inflammation caused by too much hard work. Inflammation could go away with icing and resting- which meant I wasn’t able to take any more classes. While the others had class, I was working alone in a studio or in a gym, sometimes even treating the foot with laser. The pain was still bad and my foot was way far from what it used to be, in it’s flexibility. Even though it hurt a lot, I still decided to do all the performances that were left. We were soldiers in Per Isberg’s Swedish version of the nutcracker, in case anyone’s interested.
When I was back in school and the performances were over, I could finally take real care of the injury.
I did x-Rays and a MRI and we could later on finally confirm that my pain was due to the ostrigonum, a small extra bone at the back of the ankle that causes inflammation and pain when pointing the foot. It doesn’t really count as an injury, since it’s not caused by an accident, the pain is due to the extra bone. I had an extra bone in both of my feet but I haven’t experienced any sort of problem in the right one yet (touch wood). A few weeks later, after I have had my auditions to the gymnasium at the Royal Swedish Ballet school (I got in), I took an cortisone injection, which actually helped! But only for a few weeks and then the pain was back again… Actually worse than before. Now my only option was surgery.
I did an arthroscopy surgery at the 20th of June (8.30am to be exact). I was asleep during the surgery and I had absolutely no problems waking up, such as fussiness or feeling sick. Since I wasn’t allowed to eat from 00.00am before the surgery I got some food directly after waking up.
Right now I’m on crutches, which honestly sucks so much. My arms literally get bruises and I just want to let go of those annoying crutches and walk like any other normal person. I will be on crutches for one more week and then I can start walking normally! I’m already looking forward to it. Another annoying thing is that I’m not allowed to swim until three weeks post surgery…
One thing that was actually scaring me a lot, until just recently, was that I didn’t really feel anything when touching my foot, since the anaesthesia was still left. Luckily it disappeared around Wednesday and now I’m happy to say that I feel everything that touches my foot. It has been slightly blue and it hurts a bit, sometimes less and sometimes more, but that’s totally normal, I mean, considering I just had surgery.
Other than that, my experience with surgery was great, I hope the result will be good and I really wish for a speedy recovery.