Today didn’t go as I expected it would.
I went to the level 3/4 ballet class. My ankle hurt. That, I expected.
But I had also been expecting to take a second ballet class today. I didn’t.
Instead, at the suggestion of a friend, I took the men’s conditioning class.
The class was good. Worked muscles I needed, reenforced corrections I’m working on. It was a great conditioning class, and probably more valuable to me, at least for now, than a second ballet class would have been.
But the real value came after the class. A friend was kind enough to introduce me to the teacher, and mention my ankle problems to her.
I explained that although I’d sprained my left ankle a couple of times in the past when I was much younger, that didn’t seem to be the current problem. Right now, it felt more like I was stretching a muscle in my ankle more than it was supposed to stretch – it wasn’t at all the same sort of pain from after a sprain.
So she sat down, and took a look at my feet. She started pressing around the ankle (and spouting off names of the bones there – holy cow, I need to learn some anatomy, and fast!) and asking me where it hurt. Once she found the spot where it very definitely was hurting when she pressed on it, she had me do some relevés and pliés to check my alignment.
Her diagnoses? The bone in my ankle just in front of that big bone on the outside my ankle is bruised. On the inside.
I was confused for a moment – I didn’t recall bruising my ankle, and how on earth does one bruise the inside of an ankle? – until she explained further.
My alignment is off. Way off. I’m rather flat-footed, and more so on my left side than on my right. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that when my foot rolls in, that crunches the outside of my ankle. Hence the bruising.
So she gave some big corrections on my alignment: don’t just try to lift the arches using the ankle – instead, the proper placement of the neck, shoulders, back, stomach muscles, and the right way of turning out my legs from the back of the thighs, and rotating down to the shin bones. If all that is done correctly, then the arches will naturally be lifted. She’s right – I could already see the change in my alignment just from the way she was manipulating my legs.
Happily, some of my alignment is already getting better from the corrections the main teacher has given me this past week. I love how much progress I’m seeing. But I still have a lot to work on. She gave me some exercises to do that would help my alignment, and I came out of the twenty minutes spent with her feeling so much better about my ankle.
So I went home. I iced my ankle. I slathered on some epsom salt rub that a friend gave me.
I’m ready to work through this, with the hopes that I can be pain free and strong very, very soon.