Ann Rich

Birmingham, AL

I love to move my body! I discovered this back in the 80's when aerobics and jazzercise were the hottest new exercises to get in shape while having fun with music. Three years ago, I traded in my athletic shoes for 3 inch heels to exerecise in. I became a passionate student of ballroom dance. As my love for it grew, so did my competitive nature and I began training for ballroom competitions. This year, I had some serious goals as I was training for a Fred Astaire World Competition in Las Vegas, Nevada in July, 2016. 

Six weeks before I was to leave for Las Vegas, I was having some pain in my foot, but for the most part, just chalked it up to the intense dancing in my heels to prepare. I saw Dr. Ricardo Colberg at the St. Vincent's Birmingham location fully expecting for him to give me good news that all was well with my left foot. Unfortunately, I got a call the same day as my MRI saying I had a serious stress fracture on the ball of my foot (where all a dancer's foot pressure goes). This would require total immobilization of my foot...a hard cast, which was devastating news! In retrospect, while I was in shock and so disappointed that all my training would come to an immediate halt and that I could not compete in Las Vegas, I realize now that Dr. Colberg took very swift action to get me back on the road to recovery from the stress fracture and also to insure that I would be able to continue with this passion and hobby that I love so much. 

It was very challenging for me to be off my foot, absolutely no weight bearing for almost 5 weeks. I had a fun little scooter that I became very efficient getting around on. I stayed home a lot because it was just too difficult to try and take the scooter, and in the heat of summer, I felt more comfortable not risking any more injury navigating around on crutches. 

I continued going to the dance studio for "sit down" lessons and reviewed my steps, the counts and any other information my teacher could give me without me standing on my foot. I tried to keep a positive attitude and I had great friends who came to visit to cheer me up. Even though I could not attend the world championships I set my sights on the next national competition which was going to be October 31, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. 

After 3 weeks, Dr. Colberg took the hard cast off, but I was to remain in a boot for another 3 weeks. I was a good patient and followed his instructions to the letter. I cannot say the six weeks flew by, but when the day came to put my foot on the ground, I was ready and excited. I began my physical therapy and slowly regained my strength and flexibility. I did everything Dr. Colberg instructed me to do, as well as my PT. I began dancing in athletic shoes, then practice shoes and after about 3 months I put my high heel dancing shoes back on again!

I am very honored and happy to say that while it was one of the most challenging summers of my life, it made me stronger and more determined. I just returned from the Fred Astaire National Competition (NDC) in Orlando, Florida. My teacher and partner, Fabian Sanchez (who was a pro on Season 6 of Dancing with the Stars) and I won the Rhythm Open Championship in my age division. In that championship, you dance 5 different dances: Cha Cha, Rumba, Bolero, Swing and Mambo. Fabian won the World Mambo Championship many years ago, so to win this division with him, as my partner, was a great honor and thrill for me. The success was even sweeter for me because I had to wait, be patient, and then work even harder to get back in dance shape.

I am so grateful to Dr. Colberg and Andrews Sports Medicine for getting me back on the dance floor. I have learned how to take better care of my feet now and I also come to the clinic the second I have any question or doubt that something is not quite right. I feel very fortunate to have Dr. Colberg on my "team" in this endeavor I began later in my life, with no previous dance training. It has kept me fit in all aspects...physical, mental and emotional. The lesson for me is if you are going to take your body to its limits, expect some setbacks, disappointments and have courage and strength to keep smart and patient when recovering from an injury. Thank you again Dr. Colberg...we did it!