Hey everyone! Hope you are having a lovely day so far! This is the story of my injury— I’ll tell you as much as I know about my injury in the hopes that it will help you to narrow down what your injury may be, help you become aware and prevent a possible injury, and to update you on my injury, since I’ve been promising it for a while now.
If you’re new here [hi!] you may not know that I have been on crutches for six weeks now due to a foot injury. This is the story of how I’ve gotten stuck with those darn crutches 🙂
Last February I sprained my left ankle, took time off to let it heal, and eased my way back into dancing with the help of physical therapy. It was super frustrating to miss out on dancing, what I love more than anything, and a special performance opportunity, but luckily it didn’t last forever. Eventually I was healed and able to dance again, thank goodness!
Fast forward to the end of May, during my end-of-the-year performance. At my studio, this show is essentially a marathon for the older dancers, we are constantly making quick changes in order to get back onstage for our next dance. Fortunately I was completely pain-free during rehearsals and the first performance, but the second performance wasn’t so lucky for me. As I landed a simple jump before exiting in one of my dances, my left ankle gave out. Luckily I was close to the wing and managed to hobble off quickly (hopefully unnoticed). However, there was no way I could dance, and I wasn’t able to finish the performance I had been working towards. I was crushed.
When you become injured, your mind immediately jumps to the worst. For me, my mind quickly jumped to “what if I can’t attend my summer intensive”? Unfortunately I was not able to attend, since I still can’t walk! The two weeks after the performance was a teary blur of doctor’s offices, online researching and more worrying. Definitely not the best weeks 🙂
I was told by one doctor that it was just another ankle sprain. But the pain wasn’t in my ankle. So I got an MRI.
I was told that I had tendinitis in my posterior tibial tendon. And that I had a stress fracture. And bone bruising.
It wasn’t until one day when my mom was researching online that we realized what I had. Accessory navicular syndrome. I had noticed in the past that a little bone next to my arch on each foot would ache during summer intensives, but, (classic dancer mentality) I decided to push through because it must be normal.
What is it?
An accessory navicular is an extra bone or piece of cartilage located right above the arch on the inner side of the foot. It is congenital, or present at birth. Approximately 2-12% of the population has an accessory navicular, but most people never even know it. Accessory navicular syndrome is when the bone or surrounding tissue becomes aggravated. This is caused by excessive activity, overuse, or an injury. I have all of these contributing to my accessory navicular, so I have the perfect storm brewing in my foot.
I went to the right doctor, and finally felt a little better. He told me that the fibrous connection between my accessory and actual navicular bone had most likely torn. The doctor gave me an ultrasound bone stimulator in the hopes of growing actual bone where the fibrous connection had been. The injury would not happen again if the bone grew in the connection. He said I had a 90% chance of this working, which means I wouldn’t need to have the bone removed in surgery. Pretty good odds, right? I was told to use my stimulator for 4-6 weeks and then I should be all set!
Unfortunately my bone is not the only problem. The posterior tibial tendon, the main tendon in charge of pointing your foot, is attached to the extra bone I have. All this trouble with the bone is now aggravating the tendon, which is a bear to try to calm down, according to my physical therapist. So this makes my treatments a little trickier, because there are two different problems to combat.
I have been on crutches in a boot now for over six weeks, and using my bone stimulator for four weeks. Unfortunately I haven’t really had any improvement, and I’ve actually noticed my pain getting worse in the past two weeks. We have booked a surgery date, just in case I don’t heal by then, because I should have seen at least a little improvement by now. If I do heal by then, which is now unlikely, we will simply cancel the surgery! I’ll keep you updated 🙂
To sum up
I’m no doctor or professional, but to help y’all out…
- If you are active, check out your feet just to see if you have an accessory navicular. It most likely will never bother you, but it’s good to be aware if you may be at risk. More helpful info can be found here and here.
- If you are going through a similar situation with a foot injury, do your research! I was self-diagnosed with this until I went to a third professional who confirmed our suspicions.
- If you are injured, check out my Unexpected Journey posts: one, two and three!
Phew, this was a long post!
Have a great week,