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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Returning to ballet with one arm


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Just seeking any advice that I can share with the AD of Dd's studio.


Dd fractured her shoulder 12 days ago during sport at school. The break is across the humorus just under the ball of the bone and is a jagged complete fracture. We saw the orthopedic specialist yesterday - fantastic news - she won't need surgery and the break is healing about twice the speed that he would expect. I'm sure that this is in great part to her overall high fitness level due to ballet. We were able to see a physiotherapist immediately after seeing the doctor and Dd has been given some passive muscle exercises to exercise the rotation of the shoulder - ie using gravity or holding the injured arm with the other so as not to use the muscles at all, whcih would actually cause Dd pain.


The doctor and physio are happy for Dd to return to ballet classes as of today, however, she cannot use her arms, at least for the next 10 days. She can rest her injured arm on the barre, but that is the extent of it.


Our AD suggested that if Dd were unable to use one arm, it may be better for her not to use either arm while working, but work on upper body placement (which is her weak area). And of-course, allegro work will be out for now. Any hints as to how we may best achieve a good outcome here? Have any teachers taught students in a similar situation, and if so, what did you find was succesful?

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I had a student just last spring with a broken collar bone. She was able to do the barre work, and a little bit of center, but no jumping or turning for a while, until it healed. She was a bit older, and did work with the other arm, but with the younger child the teacher might be right in restricting the use of both arms, at least until she feels that the child is secure enough in working with one. She will discover very quickly what she can and what she can't do in class. And it won't be for that long. Kids heal very quickly! :offtopic:

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Thanks for the positive encouragement Ms Leigh. I have spoken with the AD and she has suggested working with hands on hips for now and will assess as we go along. The AD takes her Saturday technique and pointe so will have a good idea of where things stand. Dd is being very vigilant about doing her physio and is really looking forward to getting back to class tomorrow (Friday).

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danceintheblood, is your daughter in a shoulder harness to hold the bone in place? This will really help stablize the shoulder during ballet class. When my daughter broke her collarbone, she was able to take barre, within about 10 days. She did not try to do port de bras with the injured arm and was told not to raise it over shoulder height. Her doctor did not want her to do anything that would cause the bone to come out of alignment, as this would slow down the healing, so the tight harness was really essential.


She did not do any center for another couple of weeks and no jumping for about 5 weeks. The first time she tried to do pirouettes in center, she took quite a tumble, landing on the elbow of the injured arm, :wink: which scared both the AD and her, as she was rehearsing with the pro company for a student part at the time. But, fortunately the bone was healed enough at that point (about 4 weeks after the injury) that it did not inhibit the continued healing.


She will likely know if she is jostling the bone around too much, as I think it will cause her pain to have the bone grating against itself :shrug: and so I hope she will heed the warning pains and make sure that she only does what she can do without any pain. Best of luck in her recovery! :devil:

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hi balletbooster - no she is not wearing any type of harness or sling now - on advice of the specialist. The break is actually across the humorus in the upper arm, just below the ball of the shoulder - so any rotation does not actually shift the bone. In fact, one of the exercises given by the physiotherapist is to hold a broomstick and raise the arms completely above the head - using the muscles of the uninjured arm to do the lifting. Apparently for this type of break, keeping the rotation going in the shoulder is very important - but exercises must be passive muscle and not active. There's no bone grating or anything - just pain in the upper arm muscle if she attempts to lift the arm and the bruising hasn't yet healed.


Thanks for your good wishes. We will see how she goes today. Unfortunately character is out at present as they are using sticks which they bang together - sorry complete lack of knowledge regarding any technical terms here :huepfen:

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Oh, I see. Completely different place/break. :mondieu: That is not as common as the collarbone break, I don't think. But, maybe someone will pop in with a similar injury who can offer their experience. :huepfen:


Can't offer any anecdotal information then! With no brace or harness or cast, it must be really hard to keep the bone stable in order to heal! :blush: Glad to hear it is healing so quickly, though! I do think the pain rule applies with any break. If it hurts, don't do it! That is a sign that the bone is shifting and that is NEVER good for healing, according to our sports doctor! :bouncing:

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I broke my wrist last winter, which is obviously a different injury, but i continued to take class completely through my recovery even for a few days in a full arm cast (i had to get minor surgery on it). It will definatly be annoying but it is possible to dance with it-i was allowed to hold my arm up and then just put it down when it got tired. I couldn't really do fast consecutive turns or fouettes, since the momentum and loss of balance from the weight of the cast got me off balance, but i could do most other things with, as i said, some loss of balance. The worst part was having to have a cast on for SI audtions-NOT a good mix! :wub:

good luck!

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