Check out Part One of Lucy’s Blog here
The second time I went to the physiotherapist was not long before I started at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary school. I was a petite 11 year old, the shortest in my class yet long limbed. I began to experience knee pain in the first couple months of training which was affecting me to go into a full plie (squat) and jump, which is pretty important in ballet. When I went to the physio, she told me my knee cap wasn’t tracking properly.
Hang on a minute. One of my bones wasn’t moving properly?! Was she serious?!
I was quickly reassured this is relatively normal in those that are hypermobile (double jointed) and weak.
Ahh, remember when I told you flexibility equals strength? Yep! Here it is!
My physiotherapist taped my knee and gave me some strengthening exercises to do over the next week or so while my knee was settling down. The pain went away for a few months but it came back again. My knee was tracking better but my physio also noticed I was taller.
So not only was I battling my own weaknesses in my body, I was battling growth too! Unfortunately, not a lot can be done whilst growing but my physio gave me some stretches for my muscles to keep up and told me to continue with my strength training. The pains went away a few months later.
During my 3rd year of high school I experienced a lot of back pain. I was growing again. It got to a stage where I was growing 1cm per month and my body was paying for it. I had various aches and pains and niggles that travelled around my body. I had back sprains and disc injuries which resulted in my legs going numb from time to time. My physio came to the conclusion that my core was weak and it wasn’t supporting the flexibility of my back because my training had increased. I worked diligently with her to get my core stronger so my back injuries would go away and I found that not only it improved my back pain, but it also improved my balance and the control of my limbs!
It was then that I thought to myself “if doing these core muscle exercises could help my balance and get my legs higher, what else can the physio teach me to help my training?”
I went back to my physio and told her I wanted stronger, better external rotation of my legs which is something I’ve always struggled with. She sent me away with more exercises to do to help and hey presto, my external rotation improved by about 5 degrees in as many months! I worked very closely with my physio over my early years because I had to strengthen my flexible body. I was forever in and out of that physio room learning and absorbing everything she could tell me. After all, my body was my work.
Now, before I write the last part of this blog, I wanted you to have a think for a moment and maybe write down some thoughts. You can write as much or as little as you want!
What do you think a physio does?
By Lucy- May Pitt