Author standing in the dance studio

What my injury has taught me

Although I’ve been active most of my life, I don’t know that I’d necessarily consider myself an athlete. However, I was involved in many different sports and activities growing up. I danced from the age of three until I was 10, doing everything from ballet and tap to jazz and contemporary. I loved leaping across the floor and adored all the cool outfits we got to wear for recitals, but I’ll admit, dancing was not my natural talent. Next, I played softball for four years and then came competitive swimming for another four. I loved swimming, always pushing myself to go faster and further every practice, trying to outrace my own personal record. Then came tennis. I played for my high school team, and we ended every practice with a mile run, which doesn’t sound like much, but after doing intense drills under the hot California sun, it felt like torture. And yet, throughout my lifetime of being active, I had never once injured myself. Sure, I’d probably pulled a muscle here and there, but never anything a bit of ice and a day of rest couldn’t fix.
Author holding a tennis racket
Me in my tennis days
When my involvement in extracurricular sports and activities died down near the end of high school, I started working out more, which I’ve kept up (on and off, I’ll admit) through university. This summer, I decided I wanted to try running consistently to see if I could get myself into better shape. I went for a run two days in a row and on my second run, I decided to go uphill. It was a bit tougher than I expected and my legs hurt, but I just figured I would be sore the next day and that would be that. But when I woke up the next morning and stepped out of bed, my right hip felt like it was out of place and every step I took was excruciating. I tried doing stretches on my own, but after a week, I was still in pain. I eventually began seeing a physiotherapist and after assessing me, he said I had what’s called a hip impingement. Basically, my hip feels tweaked every now and then and I have to stretch and strengthen it to eventually resolve this. It has now been six months since I injured my hip and I still experience pain from time to time, making it difficult to walk. I never imagined that I would ever injure myself. I thought that injuries were reserved for competitive athletes who pushed their limits every single day, their bodies finally fighting back. I’d been athletic my whole life, never once hurting myself and I think that made me feel invincible. But I pushed myself past my personal limits and my body couldn’t handle it. Since this experience, I’ve found a new appreciation for my body. Now, every time I exercise, I feel so grateful for just how much my body can do. I’ve had to confront the fact that although I’m young and relatively healthy, I’m nowhere close to invincible and need to respect my own limits.

Author flexing her bicep in the gym

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