It was probably one of the worst days of your life. What started as an arabesque turned into an Achilles tear. Your sissonne turned into a sprain. Now, it’s been weeks or even months since you’ve been in the studio. And if there’s one thing that’s tougher than going through an injury, it’s being away from your art.
But untold numbers of dancers have returned to the floor after an injury, and you can, too. The trick is to do so without putting your body through greater stress. Our tips for coming back after a dance injury will help you do just that.
Get a Doctor’s Approval First
Mentally, you’ll probably be ready to go back to class way before your body is. But one of the worst things you can do to yourself is go back before your body has completely recovered. If you do, you risk going back to square one of the recovery process or making the injury worse.
Your best bet is to work closely with your doctor and teacher. They’ll be able to tell you how far along you are in the process and what you can do to recover more quickly. When they give you the approval, then you can return.
Start With Gentle Exercise
Once you’re back in the studio, do your best to start slow. It’ll take time to dance on your injury the way you did before. The rest of your body will be out of practice, too. If you aren’t careful, you can end up injuring a completely different part of your body.
The best way to come back after a dance injury without hurting yourself is to focus on strength training at first. This will help get your body back into shape and prepare it to take on more taxing steps. And don’t forget to do things to promote muscle recovery after exercise.
Part of starting slow is listening to your body and resting often. But if laying around binging all the Step Up movies doesn’t sound appealing, you can be a little more productive in your downtime with some of these activities:
- Do a TENS treatment
- Get a massage
- Take up yoga to promote flexibility
- Spend time outside
But don’t spend too much time stressing out about being “productive with your downtime.” Rest is restorative for your body, especially after an injury. In other words, doing nothing may be one of the most productive ways to spend your downtime. So go on. Watch another Step Up.
Give Yourself Grace
Getting injured as a dancer isn’t just hard on the body. It can be a mental roller coaster. We get it. You’re probably worried about your future in dance and what you can do to catch up.
But your body is valuable whether you’re on pointe or on your couch. Give yourself the grace to recover well. Your slippers will be waiting for you until you do.