I absolutely love to dance. I have been on a competition dance team since I was 6. I love to practice and compete with my teammates. I have also been performing solos for the last four years. We perform all forms of dance: jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop. It's amazing to watch a dance start from scratch and develop into a four minute routine that can be beautiful, graceful, powerful, fun or all of the above. Dance requires dedication, discipline, sacrifice and mental toughness. It also requires strong legs, a strong core and flexibility.
Back in early 2017 I experienced my first kneecap subluxation/dislocation on stage during a competition. I was actually performing my solo and my leg buckled during a pencil turn. I felt pain in my knee but had no idea why my leg buckled. I managed to finish my routine and limped off stage. I was not able to dance the rest of the day. My family and I made an appointment with a local surgeon and had an MRI done. The MRI showed I had dislocated my kneecap and also chipped off a piece of my femur during the dislocation. As a result surgery was required to remove the bone chip but with physical therapy and exercises the dislocation would not be a recurring issue.
After the surgery and during my recovery my dad was told about Dr. Shubin Stein by a friend at work. We decided to go for a consultation given Dr. Shubin Stein's reputation and expertise. Dr. Shubin Stein and her staff were incredibly friendly and professional when we arrived for the consult. After I explained what happened when I injured my knee she ran a few quick and easy tests. She noticed in particular how flexible I was. She explained what had happened and why in terms that we could all understand. She explained that when you are flexible it's not just your muscles that are flexible. Your ligaments are flexible as well. This included the ligament that should keep my knee cap in place. The toughest thing to hear was that there was an 80% chance of the injury reoccurring without MPFL reconstruction. We drove home from the appointment knowing that we would be in great hands if I was to experience another dislocation.
In the spring of 2018 it happened. This time I was performing a solo and competing for title. During a fan kick where I was supporting myself on one leg I felt my kneecap dislocate. I knew what it was because it was the same feeling but I refused to quit. I was in front of hundreds of people and the judges. I finished my routine and had to make up my own choreography because I couldn't perform my actual dance. I'm proud to say I managed to come in second place. My teachers, teammates and family were so proud of me but reality soon set in. We knew what the next step was.
So back to Dr. Shubin Stein we went and we received the same wonderful treatment as at the first consult. Dr. Shubin Stein explained what the surgery and recovery would entail. While I was nervous for the surgery Dr. Shubin Stein and her staff made me feel very safe and comfortable. I knew she was an awesome surgeon who cared about her patients and wanted to see them "Back in the Game" doing what they love. But she was also honest about the fact that recovery will take time and that your long term health is THE most important thing.
Six months after surgery I had my Quality Movement Assessment (QMA) at HSS and was thrilled to find out I was close to 100%. The recovery and PT was definitely tough at times and I worked extremely hard to get to that point. I definitely feel that Dr. S. her staff and the physical therapists at Iron Therapy are a major reason I was able to recovery so quickly.
February 24, 2018, basically nine months after MPFL reconstructive surgery, I was back on stage competing in my first competition. The first time I would be on stage dancing since surgery was my solo. Both times I had gotten injured were during solos. Needless to say I was really nervous, for a variety of reasons. I took a deep breath, walked on stage, performed my solo, and WON! Nine months prior I was on an operating table. Nine months later I was holding a trophy for Top Overall Teen Soloist. It was truly an amazing moment that I and everyone that supported me the last nine months will never forget.
It felt great to win but I was just really excited to be doing something I loved again. I learned so many lessons along the way. It wasn't just about winning but perseverance, hard work, not taking things for granted and keeping a positive mental attitude.
I am so appreciative of Dr. Shubin Stein and her team for the expertise and compassion they showed me during a very challenging time. I would not be where I am in my recovery without them. Dr. Shubin Stein and her staff will get you back in the game and take great care of you during the entire process. While I was the one dancing again and later holding that trophy I know I was not alone up there. My family, physical therapists, dance teachers, teammates, the parents of Essex Dance Academy and Dr. Shubin Stein and her team all had a hand on that trophy when I held it up. Thank you for reading my "Back in the Game" story and I hope your experience will be as positive as mine was.