Q: What tips do you have for dancers when they go to the doctor for an injury?
A: It’s always good to write down the patterns of what you know about the injury. For example, what makes it worse, and what makes it better? Offer as much as you can about how the injury happened. If it’s an acute injury the “how” is pretty clear, but when it’s an injury that has slowly come on, it’s harder to define. This is why it’s so important to know when it hurts, how it hurts and what movement or action inflames it. That information will guide the treatment and rehab process.
Second, talk to the doctor about having a physical therapist help integrate the injured area back into full movement. For example, I have seen multiple dancers not fully rehab from a sprained ankle, only to later incur another injury, often on the opposite leg, because they never fully addressed the compensatory action of shifting the weight off of the injured leg. The body is intelligent and constantly responding to its internal state as well as the forces placed upon it by the outside environment. Once the student can return to full-weight-bearing activities, they must retrain the body to work from center and reestablish proper proprioception.