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Exercise suggestions?


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I've been away from ballet for a long time, and currently am dealing with health issues that preclude my resuming any time soon. For one thing, I'm recovering from several separate broken bone incidents, including my right ankle. It's been over a year since the break and its surgery (insertion of a 6-inch plate), but there have been complications resulting in constant pain and limited mobility. I'm completely unable to rise onto demi-pointe on that foot, but that's more a function of the pain than lack of mobility. I've also lost the strength to fully point my foot. For clarity, the break and the plate are on the outer side of my ankle, and the pain is concentrated right under the small bone (I can't think of its name!) that juts out.


I'd appreciate suggestions for specific exercises that would be gentle enough so as not to aggravate the pain, yet still accomplish improved strength and mobility. I do have some theraband-type thingies from physical therapy, but as I recall they were at the lower end of the resistance spectrum.


EDIT: I forgot to mention that further surgery is planned, but is on hold until some other health problems are resolved. The surgery will clean out the joint and remove some of the screws at the bottom of the plate; hopefully, this will relieve the pain.

Edited by MyPointeIsDance
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Guest Hilarie

Do you have access to a swimming pool? My mom had a plate put in her ankle and most of her rehab early on was in a swimming pool. That way you can be standing up and doing releves but your weight is supported.


I would consult a physical therapist before attempting anything, though... :(

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Going to some pilates classes (one-on-one with an instructor) would probably help you rehab the specific problems you mention. Swimming is a great option, as would some of the no-impact machines in a gym, and yoga. I hope your injuries heal quickly. :(

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Were I in this situation, I think I would to two things. I would try to take up some alternative exercise form. Swimming, Pilates, gym exercises and yoga have been mentioned and all are excellent. Other possibilities are things like cycling or walking, assuming they don’t result in any pain. The general rule is that if it hurts, don’t do it. Otherwise it’s fair game.


You may find that you are happy doing only these auxiliary exercise forms and they completely satisfy you. If you must have something more related to ballet, you might try doing floor barre. If some part of the floor barre bothers your injury, don’t do it. For example, if you can’t point one foot, don’t, but point the other as you go through the exercises. An interesting aspect of exercise is that your respective sides are not independent. Doing something on one side of the body actually develops the other side in the same way.


Again, if you just must do something balletic, you might try creating your own 30 minute classes where you just do the things you can do without pain. If you can only do one side of an exercise, fine.


I think my tendency would be to forget about ballet until I was ready to go back to regular class. In the meantime, I’d concentrate on things like physical fitness, flexibility, or weight loss, things that would help me once I started back.

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Thanks for the great suggestions! I love swimming and think the water exercise suggestion is really good, but I don't have easy access to a pool right now. As for walking, whether it's on a treadmill or outside, that's completely out right now as the pain in my ankle can cause me to fall. (That's how I broke my wrist.) Pilates is something that has always piqued my interest, but I've never pursued it. I wonder if attempting to "do it yourself" at home, via DVDs/tapes or books, would be a good idea.


I'm intrigued by something Garyecht said, regarding doing something on one side and having the other side benefit/develop from it as well. Honestly, I've never heard that before and don't quite see how it can be! For example, when my right arm was in a cast after surgery, its muscles really atrophied even though I was using the same muscles in the left arm a lot. Ditto for when my right leg was in a cast after its surgery--hopping around on crutches gave my left leg quite a workout, but my right leg's muscles atrophied.


Anyway, thanks again for the suggestions and if anyone thinks of others, please post them! :D

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