Real & Honest Recovery Tips

As most of you know I have some pretty severe bunions from my professional dancing days. Some of you may have seen me stuff my tennis shoes with toe garb before Groove. Or perhaps you have witnessed me in one of our cardio classes not being able to jump throughout the entire hour. Well I have finally had enough of this foot pain standing in my way of my favorite thing in the world (movement and exercise) and decided to have bunion surgery. This is how I prepped:

1. Research

I spent time researching the doctor I wanted to use so that I felt confident my surgery would be seamless and my recovery stayed on track. I ended up choosing Dr. Andrew Ebert after having several informative conversations with his Physician’s Assistant and current Dancers Shape client, Lauren Hinmann. Dr. Ebert is an ankle and foot specialist and has worked with dancers at Ballet Austin and other sports professionals. I felt confident he understood that movement (dance and exercise) is how I make my living and I needed to get back to it at a high level. As an added bonus, when I showed up for surgery the surgical nurse Ashley was a familiar face as well - another Dancers Shape client! All of these friendly, helpful faces coupled with their resumes made me feel calm and confident about my decision.

2. Exercise Ahead

I did as much cardio and strength work as I could before heading into surgery. I knew that the stronger and better conditioned I was, the better the recovery.

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3. Prep For Success

I prepped my house with plenty of anti-inflammatory foods that actually help your body heal faster. I did a big grocery run and stocked up on leafy greens, berries, ginger, beets and made some home-made bone broth - an excellent boost for the immune system.


4. Right Attitude

I went in with realistic expectations and a positive attitude. This is a notoriously painful surgery with a long recovery.

With all that physical and mental prep, this is how it really went down:

  • Day of Surgery - “This is going to be cake!” - Dr. Ebert left so much numbing medication that I couldn’t feel my foot until the next day. I ate salad and bone broth and could get around pretty easily on my crutches since I was totally numb. “I got this!”
  • Day 2-4 “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!” - I am throwing up, terrible nausea, dizziness, horrible throbbing pain. Then I embark on the miserable cycle of pain pills followed by laxatives which offer more nausea plus cramping. And what’s this speak of being able to walk on your heel after surgery???? Not so.
  • Day 5-6 “There is light at the end of the tunnel.” - It just so happened that on Easter Sunday I woke up and the pain had subsided enough to not need pain pills every 4 hours so I went almost cold turkey (just a half of pill to get the pain down before bed). I felt like I was getting back to myself! But what about me not being able to put weight on my heel? Will I ever walk again???
  • Day 6 “The doctor’s didn’t lie!” - I can put weight on my heel! Now that I feel like have energy I can begin some type of movement. Check out my video on some of the exercises I will be using over the next week to stay moving.

Jennifer's Recovery Exercises

Tune in next week to see my improvement and what new exercises I have progressed to. Thanks again for all the well wishes!

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About the Author

Jennifer McCamish is the owner of Dancers Shape, a Pilates and barre fitness studio in Austin, Texas. A former NYC Radio City Rockette with over 30 years of dance experience and training from legendary institutes around the country, McCamish has worked or performed with many well-known celebrities, television shows and publications. Utilizing her professional knowledge and education, she created Dancers Shape, a unique approach to fitness, incorporating elements of ballet, yoga, Pilates and circuit training to efficiently build strength and muscle tone while maintaining a lean and nimble body. McCamish holds a BA in Dance from the University of Texas in Austin, Athletic Training in Injury Prevention for Dancers from Radio City Entertainment, is a STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor including Injuries and Special Populations, Cooper Institute Certified Personal Trainer, IDEA Fitness and Wellness member, and is certified in CPR-First Aid. She is a certified instructor including injuries, special populations and golf conditioning. Read more about Jennifer.