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Category Archives: Injuries

The Annoying Hand Injury You Didn’t Even Know Was a Thing – Skier’s Thumb

Do you train on squishy mats? Do you do handstands, push-ups, or other gymnastics on a squishy mat? Do you routinely wrestle finely-muscled athletes in a tub of Jell-O on a squishy mat? Just asking on that last one (send photos). If you do any of these things, you could be unknowingly courting a hand injury that I didn’t even know was a thing until it happened to me – SKIER’S THUMB (cue ominous music).


What is Skier’s Thumb? Why Might I Be at Risk?

Skier’s Thumb is a more common injury if you ski. Before you ask, no – I don’t. And if I did, it would probably look something like this.



It’s a soft tissue injury to the ligaments in your hand, most often occurring when skiers fall, splay their hands, and land on their poles – pushing the thumb back with force. Know how else you can get it? Yep – you guessed it! Training on squishy mats. What’s really unfair? It can develop over time. Merp.

If you’re an aerialist, you’ll notice a lot of tenderness around the base of the thumb, pain while gripping, and perhaps referred pain in the wrist. Your grip between thumb and forefinger will be weaker, thus diminishing your overall grip (so not a good time to do that “trapeze over a shark tank” act you’ve been dreaming of). It can also come with a hefty dose of thumb pain in any direction.


How Can I Prevent It?

Well, don’t train splayed-hand moves on squishy mats! Also – don’t ski (or at least don’t fall down).

What constitutes a squishy mat? Any mat where your palm is lower than your thumb when you’re doing a push-up. Sprung gymnastic floors are great, and firm panel mats or hard foam floors are usually OK. Soft mats like crash pads are horrendous, as are most mats that are going to feel nice and soft if you fall down on them. For the hand muscles to properly engage, the thumb and fingers shouldn’t be bent back.


Dammit – Too Late! How Do I Treat It?

Get thee to the doctor for a proper diagnosis! They’ll likely recommend the usual (ice, rest, NSAIDS), and if there’s a complete ligament tear, surgery, with PT to follow.

Mine sneaked up on me a few years ago, and EVERY TIME I see someone training gymnastic movement on a squishy mat (handstands, cartwheels, etc), I have to fight the urge to tackle them and ACE bandage their thumbs. But that would be weird, so I wrote about it instead.

Keep those hands healthy – they’re kind of important in the work we do! Also – I wanna see that shark tank act. Love and pull-ups, Laura

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Be Progressive! Why Progressions are Essential in Aerial and Circus Training

Marcee Corner PocketWith political campaigns heating up (if I was clever, I would figure out how to put a GIANT EYE ROLL HERE; you’ll just have to imagine it), I figured now is as good a time as any to bring up one of my very favorite topics: progressions! Turns out, you can be progressive AND conservative in your aerial work, which just might make you a superhero.

What is a Progression in CircusLand?

Simply put, a movement progression is building off of foundational skills to achieve or pursue an advanced state. For example, Lulu comes to my aerial silks group class here in New York City. She has never taken a silks class in her life. I do not allow or encourage her to start with a triple star (duh) – we work on simply standing on the fabric.

This seems pretty common sense, right? Well, I started with an easy one for you. How many of you are trying to execute a hip key in the air before mastering in-air inversions? Oooooh – I see a lot of hands. Dear Danglers, inversions in the air come before hip keys in the air – I’ll bet you’re in bad habit city right now. Good luck with that.

Every single move in circus is built on foundations of proper body positioning, strength, and mental readiness (it’s a thing). Every. single. one. Ultimately, a progression map looks a lot like a tree: there’s a solid trunk (inversion in the air), then branches start forming (hip key in the air), and so on, all the way to the fancy leaves at the end (drops from a hip key). Trying to bypass those progressions is NOT PRETTY, people!

  • An uphill battle. Without the supportive skills, moves higher up the progression tree are f*$king hard.
  • Higher risk of injuries. Not only are you more likely to fall on your head, you’re practically guaranteed repetitive stress injuries (tendinitis, bursitis, etc.), popped hammies, or soft tissue injuries like a torn labrum.
  • No understanding of the theory behind it. Yes – circus theory is a thing! You should know the why behind what you’re doing. WHY do we cross two times behind the back for this move? Why do we take our heel out of the knot? Why do we “clench for Jesus” as we slide in front of the fabric? The *why* is important.
  • Ya’ll – it’s ugly. Seriously. Know what’s lovely? A beautiful progression that doesn’t result in just heaving yourself into a position, hauling your body over, and flopping around like a deranged mackerel.
  • BONUS: extra panic! And fear! A good progression also prepares you mentally for the experience of advanced moves. Some motions MUST be executed with confidence, some require some mental reconciling with fear, and some just hurt like hell. There’s no skipping the preparation for that (unless you really like falling, injury, extra pain, debilitating fear, peeing in panic, you get the picture).


How do I Work With Progressions?

Hopefully, your teacher has given a great deal of thought to their methodology and pedagogy. (Psssst! If you suspect that this is not the case, it may be time to seek out a new coach.) This looks like a consistent and careful progression that is similar for every student. Everyone will progress at wildly different paces, but the stepping stones should remain the same, with small variations for special needs. It does NOT look like allowing students to jump in wherever they’d like.

So, let’s all be progressive AND conservative! It’s the best of all the aerial worlds! Love and pull-ups, Laura



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Man Bits Part 2! Mr Bobby Hedglin on Keeping the Tiger Caged

Bobby PromoWARNING! This blog post contains slang references to male anatomy. If you’re under 18, or squeamish, you’ve been warned.

Hello Dear Danglers! Everyone’s favorite Bobby Hedglin talks about his favorite danglers, in his typical irreverent way. I would like to mention that he included a lexicon of over 200 euphemisms for man bits which, for (ahem) matters of spacing, I had to omit. Enjoy!

“I’d like to chat with all the men in the room.   It’s that thing we all love to talk about… our business, our Johnson, Biggy Smalls, Baby arm, python, dragon, lizard, and finally… my favorite subject in the world my penis.  His name is Wilber (I named him after the Pig in Charlotte’s Web).   I’ve come face to face with some penis trouble, and choose to share my experience head on and give you some suggestions on how to approach your own turkey baster when training acrobatics.

As male acrobats we all come up to that uncomfortable moment when our little friend gets caught, snagged, kicked, bumped, pulled or smashed.   It’s never the  happy meeting of body parts this prince is ultimately meant for, so let’s put our heads together and have a meeting of the minds.  Since some women think our brains are down there, let’s use our “brains” and come up with some solutions to not running over our poor trouser trout and turning him into Muppet roadkill,  that mangled ball of fur and flesh after a crash and burn crashing head on with a circus apparatus.

First and foremost, keep him caged!!  Nothing is more dangerous to the John Thomas than letting him out to run freely off the leash by going commando when training!   This is where the dance belt comes in.   Ah yes, that medieval torture device that takes your mister and his set of throw pillows and thrusts it up into your pelvis while taking an elastic strap made of steel wool and placing it in your butt crack…. yes, that old thing.  Giving new light to the term “Asses of fire”.   Created to stop ruptures and hernias from blooming the dance belt has been a life saver for my wooley jonhson.  The necessary evil we need to protect the little fellow.   Couple of notes.  There ARE dance belts that don’t have the butt crack strap and are fully seated for extra comfort.   You can also sew a patch of fabric over the elastic butt floss and it will be more comfortable.

Boxers or briefs?   I’ve always been a briefs or tighty whitey kinda guy so I was used to the “lift and separate” but it’s been drilled into our collective unconscious that if you want to have the honor of bringing children into the world you need to create world class swimmers and you do that by wearing boxers.   A common misconception in the cultivation of a crop of minnows destined to find an egg.   I’ve known several men who have fathered children who have shared that they only wear briefs.  It is better for you to wear boxers, but it’s not impossible if you prefer a more streamline hipster penis look.   Now, there are you guys who are free spirits who want to let the little Llama run free in boxers, that’s totally acceptable and always a personal preference, but I digress, let’s get back to the “business” at hand (All puns intended).   Boxers are deadly to the little Frank if you’re training.  Not only do they create unsightly wrinkles in your skinny jeans, they also create “frog butt”, the bunching of fabric in the back of your pants… not cute fellas, not cute.   Chicks dig guys with nice butts, (and some guys like them too) don’t mess it up with boxers…you could try boxer briefs too, they are quite comfy and no undie lines under jeans or pants 🙂

Now, on to tricks, moves, training in the air.   Once you’ve caged the monster, you have to remember in the air PLACEMENT IS KEY!   When you wrap fabric, rope, trapeze bars, make sure you lift the thighs high when inverting, and when climbing above wraps, climb higher above any wraps and sinking down, make sure the fabric or rope rolls up your inner thigh and not through center, splitting your tower lamp and back up generators in two.  This can be very painful.   Finding placement on the apparatus with your apparatus is key.  Work your tricks “slow and low” especially work the wrap for drops several times before going for it.  Any drop, wrap or move that needs to go through the center of your crotch, make sure the material of the apparatus goes to one side or the other.  No need to test your high notes in singing class by placing it front and center.   You will eventually find a move that does cause some kind of snatch and grab and you will have worked through the most part of the trick and it won’t be as bad.   On a personal note, I had created a very cool slack drop on Hammock about 15 years ago… I went for it and caught my tropical mushroom in the fabric at the bottom.  I was in excruciating pain, and the resulting bruise on the barrel of my rifle was about the size of a quarter.  I sent a photo to my partner at the time because he didn’t believe me, and he laughed and nicknamed my delicate flower “Barney the Purple dinosaur”.    Luckily this wasn’t an accident that needed medical treatment but it could have been really bad.   BE CAREFUL with your wacky inflatable arm flailing tube man !

With all acrobatics, aerial, duo work, partner acro, trapeze, gymnastics always remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry.   You only get one member in this life and you should protect him, love him and hug him and call him George!(or whatever name you might give him).    With all jokes aside, I’ve found a dance belt to be key to safety for the man bits.   Stretching, warm up, as well as proper attire is always the first line of defense in protecting your one eyed trouser trout.   Working through every transition “slow and low” and trying new things, testing the waters in a controlled, safe environment with a trained coach.   Always keeping in mind that our little one eyed trouser trout on a bed of pubic hair pasta is resilient, and will bounce back into shape quickly after any injury, but let’s not test fate by being reckless.

If I missed any slang terms for Penis, you can add to this list by commenting below.”

Bobby Hedglin Taylor
Why walk when you can fly!



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Ballsy Moves! Trevor Kafka Talks Man-Bits with SassyPants New York

Trevor 1It’s a touchy subject and far under-discussed one at that, but it’s definitely one of staggering importance in any aerial community. That’s right, everyone, we’re talking about man bits and how we can make sure that the way that those of us with external genitalia can perform aerial movements allows us to stay safe, uninjured, and “pain-free” in our most sensitive region.

Just a quick note before I go any further: When I say “man bits,” I’m referring to any sort of external genitalia. Aerial instructors should be aware extended applicability of this advice to people who we may not immediately identify as “men.” For example, a transgendered or intersex aerial student may bear full or partial male genitalia and therefore may find aerial work challenging, but the fact that this is why they are finding aerial work challenging may not be so evident. So, while I will call them “man bits,” don’t confuse all of this advice as strictly “advice for aerialists who are men.”

Almost every aerialist with man bits has had at least one highly unpleasurable experience where an aerial apparatus squeezed or pinched in a bad way or where a bar or rope caused painful bodily shifting. The most commonly prescribed solution from aerial instructors as to how to prevent these sorts of mishaps is to wear a dance belt. For those who are unfamiliar, a dance belt is a form of supportive underwear similar in function to a jockstrap that is equipped with a thong back in order avoid edge visibility underneath form-fitting clothing.

The dance belt advice is very common, but there is one extremely important problem: DANCE BELTS DO NOT PREVENT INJURY. Man bits can still get hurt quite a bit as a result of poor aerial technique, even for the most diligent of dance belt wearers.

Well, if they don’t prevent injury, what do dance belts do, you may ask? The answer is that they keep your man bits in place, which means that they will be where you expect them and you can can position them in a predictable manner. The only way beyond supportive underwear to ensure ideal comfort and safety is to employ strong aerial technique, and the proper technique to perform aerial moves comfortably on an apparatus may be more involved than you have been instructed in the past. Here are my words of advice, broken down into three fundamental concepts.


Use these rules to predict if an aerial skill may cause intense pain.

  • Inwards pressure on the man bits (pressing into the body) = TERRIBLY PAINFUL
  • Upwards pressure on the man bits (sliding towards the chest) = TERRIBLY PAINFUL
  • Downwards pressure on the man bits (sliding towards the feet) = not great, but generally tolerable

Example: the canonical “kick in the balls” is both an upwards and inwards hit, which, as you can see by my categorization here, can be quite terribly painful indeed.

Here are some examples to demonstrate how you might employ these rules to recognize situations where extreme pain might result without care.

  • Directions of Pressure Example 1: Consider horse position on trapeze or hoop (basically, sitting on the bar sideways with one leg on either side of the bar). If you sit backwards a bit, there’s no pressure at all on the man bits, which is great, but if you lean forward–WOAH NELLY–that upward pressure is HORRIBLE.
  • Directions of Pressure Example 2: Consider hip circles on trapeze or hoop. If you rotate in the forward direction, this puts downwards pressure on the man bits. This is no big deal, and generally does not cause pain. However, reverse hip circles are VERY SKETCHY INDEED. If the man bits slide along the bar during a reverse hip circle, this can apply EXTREME upwards and inwards pressure. Thus, great care must be taken when performing reverse mill circles to ensure that the man bits press into the bar VERY LIGHTLY if at all when the skill is performed.
  • Directions of Pressure Example 3: Think about a hip key on silks. If this is done POORLY, the silks may lie directly on the man bits, pushing them directly inwards towards the body (you do have your full weight in the fabric, after all). This can be extremely painful.

ANTI-MAN-BITS-PAIN TIP 2: know which nearby areas DO NOT cause pain

Pressure on the man bits hurts; pressure directly to the left, right, above, or below does not (at least, does not in the same, horrible, horrible way). As we will see, this allows us to use the “Pick A Side!” technique with our apparatus in order to comfortably support weight.

How do you know which side to pick? The answer depends on the skill! “Pick a Side!” is most relevant for aerial silks, so I will provide a general rule some examples to illustrate.

THE BIG “PICK A SIDE!” GENERAL RULE: the left/right placement of the fabric on the front of the body immediately after it passes between the legs directly corresponds to whether the fabric should pass through on the left or on the right of the man bits.

Why is this the case? Since the man bits are located on the FRONT part of the pelvis (instead of directly underneath the pelvis), whatever the fabric does in the front of the hips must be matched with what the fabric does immediately below the hips in order to prevent the fabric from wrapping diagonally across the man bits, and thus causing uncomfortable inward and upward pressure!

Here are some examples to illustrate:


  • “Pick a Side!” Example 1: in a hip key, the fabric section running between the legs should be ABOVE the man bits when keyed in (that is, on the ceiling side of things when the body is piked over), because the portion of the fabric running through the legs that goes to the front of the hips runs towards the top leg (that is, bottom to top, we have: silk, leg, man bits, silk, leg, silk–quite the sandwich indeed). Positioning in this manner will allow for maximum hip key comfort (…or should I say “maximum hip keymfort”? Maybe I shouldn’t…).
  • Trevor 2 Photo (c) Cristian Buitron

  • “Pick a Side!” Example 2: get into an opposite-side hook (outside leg hook), let the silk go behind the back, wrap the free leg, and climb over the hooked leg into a opposite side dive (salto) position. This position is typically very painful when not done carefully. Since the opposite side leg was hooked, the side that is climbed over is opposite to the side that the portion of the fabric running through the legs ends up on at the front of the hips. Since the weight will be supported on the side of the man bits which corresponds to the leg that was climbed over, the fabric will force lots of uncomfortable pressure because by doing so we are forced to violate “Pick a Side!” rule that I mentioned above. A flourish of the hips can allow one to “switch sides” when climbing over, avoiding this painful result (described in Anti-Man-Bits-Pain Tip 3, Pain Prevention Solution 1 below).
  • “Pick a Side!” Example 3: get into a same-side hook (inside leg hook), wrap the free leg, and climb over the hooked leg. As far as aerial skills go, this position does not hurt much at all, since the natural placement of the weight-bearing portion of the silk is on the side of the leg that you climbed over, which is the same side as the fabric wrap in front of the hips, so our “Pick a Side!” rule is satisfied! Hooray for no terrible, terrible pain!

ANTI-MAN-BITS-PAIN TIP 3: know how to PREVENT painful pressure during movement

In general, aerial skills can be very painful if a wrap involves switching sides while the silk is bearing weight. There are two workarounds.


  • Pain Prevention Solution 1, “JUMP THE HIGHWAY”: If you find that you have chosen the wrong side, or that the wrap that you are using simply violates the “Pick a Side!” rule (as is common for many opposite side hook wraps, as illustrated by the “Pick a Side!” Example 2 above), proceed with “Jump the Highway” by lifting up the body with the arms on the silks, switching the fabric from one side of the man bits to the other, and then sitting yourself in. This is a fairly reliable technique that works for most situations on any apparatus, but it does require a little bit of foresight to prevent pain in the first place as well as arm strength to actually perform the maneuver.
  • Pain Prevention Solution 2, “BE CREATIVE!”: Try choosing a different wrap! Ask your instructor if there are any variations on the skill that you are working with that does not involve switching sides while weight-bearing. If none are evident or known, try figuring out something for yourself under the supervision of an instructor. Very frequently there are multiple ways to enter the same skill or many ways to produce the same shape, and very often these variations are accompanied with various degrees of pain. You just may come up with a brand new piece of aerial vocabulary!



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The Sound of… Silence? What Can You do About Aerial Queefing?

Ghetto StrapsOh yes, I absolutely am going there.

A lovely Dear Dangler recently sent me this query, and I wanted to throw this out to you, Hive Mind.

Queef: noun: an expulsion of air through the vagina.


“I am stressed and embarrassed about doing straddle inverts, as well as other general invert moves.

The problem is that with the damage from my pregnancy when I invert my organs move down towards my head causing a vacuum and sucking in air, caused the dreaded queef.

I love silks, it is my joy at the moment but I was so mortified the first time it happened.  I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but I am constantly stressed about it. 

Do you have any recommendations to help solve the problem???”


Pre-pregnancy, when I would base trapeze, sometimes this would happen to me (we called me “Queen La-Queefia, and joked that I could propel our roll-around-the-bars with the force of them). It tended to happen when we were returning to trapeze after a short hiatus, so I suspect I was allowing my pelvic floor muscles to to relax a bit.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom for this quizzical queefer? It’s awful when something like this stands in the way of something you love. OK, Hive Mind! GO!!!! If you have any thoughts or recommendations, please leave them in the comments below! Love and pull-ups, Laura

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ACL Tears and Other Injuries: Guest Blogger Chriselle Tidrick!!!

Chriselle Tidrick, Above and Beyond Dance

Hello Dear Danglers! This week, I bring to you……. A GUEST BLOGGER!!! The amazing Chriselle Tidrick from Above and Beyond Dance recently shared her ACL rehab story with a reader, and generously allowed me to reprint it here. If you’ve torn your ACL, or have another serious injury, I hope her words inspire you to keep going, heal up, and be smart about it! I’ve seen her work recently, and you would never believe she’d ever had an injury. She was incredibly diligent in her PT, and made healing her second job. I love how she doesn’t sugar-coat it! Love and pull-ups, Laura

I unfortunately, do have a lot of experience with knee injuries.  I tore my ACL in 2012, and I hate to say but it’s a very challenging injury to deal with.  You can certainly get through this and return to a full performance life.  (Thankfully, I have.)  But, it takes a lot of time and a lot of work.
In terms of the injury itself, let me share a few things which you may already know, but which I wish I understood more fully when I tore my ACL.  Every orthopedist has a slightly different method of bringing you back after ACL surgery.  I happened to have a very conservative orthopedist.  The drag of this choice is that it took me longer than many others to make a full recovery.  The good thing is that he was really making an effort to protect me from re-tearing the ACL.  My understanding is that if you re-tear the ACL, your chances for making a full recovery are significantly diminished.  Like you, I asked very early in the process how soon I could expect to return to aerial.  My doctor recounted a horrifying story about how one of his patients returned to aerial too soon and completely ripped out his surgery.  Needless to say, this kept me from pushing too far too fast.  For me, it was a little over a year before I was back to training, and even then, it was a gradual process of strengthening and rebuilding my comfort level in the apparatus. (My knee is much more sensitive to torque than it used to be.)  For a long time, I had to switch to doing a lot of elements on my non-surgery side (which is also my non-dominant side).  That said, I understand it makes a difference whether you opt for an autograft or an allograft.  If you have an autograft (the doctor uses your own tissue– usually hamstring or patellar tendon), I understand that the healing time is shorter than for an allograft (donor graft).  I opted for an allograft because I had a previous injury on the leg with the ACL tear, and I didn’t want to further compromise that leg.
Right after surgery, you are going to spend a lot of time on a knee machine which takes your knee passively through range of motion.  I think I was on that thing for something like 6 hours a day.  If your orthopedist functions like mine, it will be a week or so before you start PT.  You will be shocked to discover how quickly your leg muscles atrophy.  Your early PT exercises will be very gentle and very simple, and you will very gradually build up to more full movement.  Once I was able, I spent about 2 hours a day, 5-6 days a week doing my PT exercises.  I quickly discovered that my desire to keep my aerial muscles in shape was supplanted by a desire to get my knee functioning properly, and my time and energy was mainly directed to doing as much PT as my body could handle.  I could carefully do chin-ups, chin holds and shoulder shrugs, and I used a rope pulling machine at the gym, but I really opted to keep my focus on the knee rehab.  As soon as my knee was stable enough, I did spend a lot of time also doing floor barre and Pilates.  Since you have a doorway bar, you can probably add in L holds pretty early on, but just be careful not to stress out your hip flexors too much.  They’ll be pretty stressed from schlepping around on crutches!
I am sure this doesn’t apply to you, if you are already asking about aerial training. It sounds like you are the kind of person who will regularly do her PT.  But, honestly, for anyone not serious about keeping up with PT, I’d seriously consider living life with a brace and not doing the surgery.  Granted, this choice means you will never be able to return to aerial training, but if you don’t do your PT you won’t be able to go back to it, either…
Let me also stress that it’s important to work with PTs accustomed to dealing with dancers/athletes as you go through this process.  Our rehab needs are different from people who have more sedentary jobs, and you will definitely need guidance about what is or is not safe for your knee as you return to training.  I was lucky that one of the 2 PTs I worked with at Harkness Center for Dance Injuries does aerial training.  She really walked me through my return to aerial.  Her suggestion to me was that I start with static trap/lyra and then progress into fabric.  I will say that there are definitely more positions involving uncomfortable torque in aerial fabric, so you’ll want to be really careful (go slowly!) as you explore those.  I am sure your PTs will tell you this, but hamstring strength is key as you return to aerial.
What can I tell you about coming back to aerial after being away for so many months?  Well, it was such a gradual process that, even though I was weak, I could gradually add in more and more strengthening activities at a pace that basically matched the kinds of skills I was allowed to do.  For conditioning, I mostly worked shoulder shrugs, chin holds, chin ups, inversions (bent arm and straight arm), and I did a lot of Pilates.  The hardest thing was rebuilding my endurance once my knee was strong enough to execute choreographic sequences, but that came back too, as it certainly will for you.  I am sorry to tell you that this will be a really slow, annoying and frustrating process, but everything really will come back.  At this point, I am as strong as ever and enjoying having a full performing life as a dancer, aerialist and stilt dancer.  
Wishing you a smooth recovery process.  Believe me, I feel your pain! – Chriselle 



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DIY Ice Packs for the Sassiest of Aerialists!

What you’ll need!

… and, you know, anyone else who needs ice packs. SO. A dear friend had a slight shoulder dislocation this past week, and, being the Florence Nightengale that I am, I went to buy them an ice pack. Know how much they were? A reusable shoulder ice pack with a holder was – brace yourself (get it?? BRACE?! HA!) – $20. I’m sorry, are you KIDDING ME? Those of you who have ever seen me tear through CVS with my coupons and ECB’s know that I’m something of a frugal gal. So, what’s a cheapskate like me to do? Make my own durned ice pack!

I stocked up on dish detergent (on sale, of course), and set to work. You’ll need:

  •  1-2 bottles of cheap dishwashing liquid (Dawn, Palmolive, whatever’s on sale); OR, substitute a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part rubbing alcohol
  • two one-gallon plastic freezer bags
  • an old T shirt
  • fabric glue or a sewing machine
  • (optional) scrap fabric or rhinestones to bedazzle your creation
  • (optional) elastic to allow it to stay without holding it


Almost done!

  1. Fold your bags in half, place them on your T shirt, and measure one additional inch on all sides. Mark your measurements with a sharpie, cut two (or cut 1 on the fold and eliminate step 2).
  2.  Glue or sew one long side together – this is your center seam.
  3. Bedazzle or sew/glue on your decorative fabric (be mindful not to glue rhinestones on your seam allowance!)
  4. If using elastic, pin it to the top panel, matching one of the edges with the seam allowance. Baste or glue. (if this makes zero sense, just sew or glue it on when the ice pack is finished).
  5. Fold at the center seam, and sew up one short edge and the remaining long edge.
  6. Hem the remaining raw edge if you wish.
  7. Fill one plastic bag with the desired amout of goo. Squeeze out the air and seal it shut.
  8. Double the bag.
  9. Insert into the sleeve – VOILA! Stick it in your freezer. The detergent or alcohol mixture will get cold, but not freeze solid.

ENJOY! Love and pull-ups, Laura






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Inter-webs Goodies!

Hello Dear Danglers! I’m on vacation for a week (!!!!!), but I found some goodies floating around the F-Books I thought you might enjoy.  I have my own thoughts on these which I’ll share soon, but for now, I’m off to float in the lake with my ankle-biter. Read, discuss amongst yourselves. 😉 Love and pull-ups, Laura

Stop Stretching Your Hamstrings So Much – an interesting take on hamstring injury related to hyper-flexibility.

How Dancers Can Achieve a Better Body Line – if you can wade through the dancer-speak, this is a great reminder of how to keep the body long, with beautiful, elegant carriage.

Shoulder Bursitis/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis – a great overview of the most common repetetive stress injury in aerialists.


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Exercises for Strong, Sexy Knees – Rehab ‘Em Right!

Hello Dear Danglers! Some of you are dealing with wonky knees, and I came across a few resources you might find useful. We always think of keeping our upper bodies pain & injury-free, but knees are pretty helpful too. 😉 Enjoy! Love and Pull-ups, Laura


PS – these are also great if you’re having trouble getting legs straight in any crocheted position on fabrics!


Build a Better Knee – Runners World

3 Exercises to Cure Your Knee Pain


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When Injury Happens, The First Hour is Critical!

Hello Dear Danglers! You’ve been there, I’ve been there. You’re training, or walking past the really sharp coffee table, or knitting at unsafe speeds, and BAM! Injury happens. Whether it’s a bruise, break, or chronic condition, injuries are awful. Aside from the pain and inconvenience of the actual ouchie, the mental and emotional toll can be considerable (light burns and bruises excepted – suck it up). What’s a dangler to do? Let’s chat.

At the First Sign of Pain

STOP. Do you hear me? STOP. Wait, breathe. Assess. Pain is your body’s alarm system, and shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, how you handle that injury in the first hour can make a HUGE difference in how quickly you can get back in the air.  Circus hurts, no doubt about it! But there’s a big difference between the “pinchy” pain of training, and the “I’m severing an artery” pain of injury. If it’s the latter, you should:

  1. STOP.
  2. If the injury is severe, emergency medical protocol should be observed. Remember – NEVER TRAIN ALONE.
  3. If you have a visible wound (a burn or open cut, for example), get thee to the first aid station and take care of it pronto. Don’t get that sh*t on my fabric. 😉
  4. No external wound? Not an emergency? Breathe, wait. Let your body “settle”.
  5. Assess your pain. Has it disappeared? Grown worse? Stayed about the same?
  6. If your pain has disappeared and you decide to continue with your training, baby that area for the rest of your session. Remember – you don’t get points for making it worse. Only hurting during a certain move? Repeat after me: “I’m going to skip that one today.”
  7. Grown worse or stayed the same? Re-assess – do you need medical attention? Regardless, no more training today for you! First aid, ya’ll. Commit this to memory, it can speed your healing. RICE:
  • Rest – yes, YOU.
  • Ice – repeat after me: NEVER HEAT A FRESH INJURY!!!! Ice ice, baby.
  • Compress – grab an ACE bandage and gently compress, careful not to cut off your circulation.
  • Elevate – prop that baby up!

Many doctors also recommend a standard dose of an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory (ex: ibuprofin) soon after the injury to reduce inflammation.

Got an instructor who pushes you into pain? Disregards your experience of pain? Shames you when you get hurt? That is not ok. Remember – it’s YOUR body. If it breaks, they don’t have to live in it. Part of any physical endeavor is learning to OWN your body, and set limits for yourself and others. Protect that beautiful bod!


When a Diagnosis is in Order

Is it an “injury”, not just an ouchie? Getting worse instead of better? Very painful? You can certainly ask your instructor for their input, but don’t mistake them for a medical professional. Here’s a great blog post (brought to my attention by the lovely and talented Sabrina McNeal) about exactly that. You turn to the pros to teach you to soar through the air, you’ll want to consider doing the same when it comes to your diagnosis & treatment. Dance Instructors and Injury Management: Leave it to the Pros

Have a lovely, safe, and injury free week, my lovlies! I’ll see you in the air! Love and pull-ups, Laura


For next week: Ow Ow OW! Working Around an Injury, Part 2

The week after: Ow Ow OW! Working Around a Chronic Condition, Part 3


As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.