Learning Through

Since I was three years old, ballet has been a part of my life. Although I stopped and started numerous times, I have always loved to dance. Ballet was for fun and not competitive in any way; it was just a hobby. However, due to an unexpected injury in which I faced physical limitations, I was forced to give up dancing.

Towards the end of eighth grade, after I had done ballet for almost a year, I started having constant pain in my right hip. To compensate for it, I shifted all my weight to my left hip; this later resulted in both hips being injured. Thinking the pain would go away, I continued dancing. Once the pain become unbearable, to the point where I had trouble walking, I went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with trochanteric bursitis, which is common in obese boys and middle aged women. However humorous this situation may be, I am neither, and this was quite irritating since there is no cure other than rest. Despite the physical pain I was in, there was not much I could do. I had never endured physical pain in this way, and I was impatient to fix this. I stopped taking PE for the rest of my eighth grade year, and I have not taken it since. During the summer, my doctor wanted me to rest. At this point, I was still dancing. As my summer contained minimal exercise, other than a small amount of ballet, the pain shortly subsided. However, the pain quickly came back once 9th grade began. At that point, I was fed up with hip pain and decided to go back to physical therapy; my parents also took me to see an orthopedic surgeon. Although physical therapy helped in the beginning, the more ballet I did, the worse both of my hips became. I could barely walk up the stairs and getting out of the car hurt a lot. I was very aggravated because I questioned why this had happened to me.

Later in the year, my orthopedic surgeon suggested that I get a MRI and a MRA with dye injections into my hip joints; he assumed that I had a labral tear in my right hip along with the bursitis. After four appointments, three sets of x-rays, and injections in each hip, I finally had an answer to what was wrong with my hip: I had a minute tear in my labrum. The labrum is the cartilage that surrounds the femoral head. Repetitious external hip rotation form ballet caused the labrum to constantly rub against my hip socket causing the tear. Although people accused me of being lazy, this tear was serious.

The next step was to choose arthroscopic hip surgery; this consists of the dislocation of the hip to then make small incisions to repair or remove the tear. However, I chose to take the conservative route and undergo bilateral cortisone injections in each hip. My surgery was over six months ago and has greatly helped. The most frustrating part of this is that I am under my doctor’s orders not to do ballet whatsoever.

My hip injury has caused quite a deal of physical pain; however, it has equally caused me to realize that I can not focus on the negativity which the injury has brought about. Having a tear in my hip does not define me in any way; I have come to embrace this fact that I am no longer able to dance, and have found a way to see the positive outcome despite my physical restrictions.

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