Leading dancer Rudy returns to competitive action after surgery rehab at Nuffield Health Leicester

When a knee injury prevented Rudy Killworth from doing what he loves most - competitive dancing, he consulted Anton Horne, Physiotherapy Manager at Nuffield Health Leicester, to learn how rehab could get him competing again.

“I’ve been dancing since I was 7 and I’ve always had a passion for it. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t dance,” says Rudy Killworth, who has returned to competitive dancing after successful knee surgery.

Rudy, aged 16, started to feel knee pain in early 2020 which continued during the first lockdown of the pandemic. “I had a lot of pain in my knee, and it affected me emotionally, so I wanted to get it seen to,” says Rudy. 

“I got in touch with Anton Horne, Physiotherapy Manager at Nuffield Health Leicester. He set up a programme of exercises I could do at home due to the lockdown, including face-to-face ones as restrictions eased,” he adds.

Sadly, Rudy's knee did not improve enough to allow him to resume competitive dancing. “Anton referred me to a consultant (Mr Subash Tandon) for a scan and following this, I was booked into surgery which took place in April 2021,” says Rudy. 

The surgery focused on the osteochondral defect in Rudy's knee. This refers to a focal area of damage that involves both the cartilage and a piece of the underlying bone. 

“Whilst my surgery took place elsewhere, I decided to go back to Anton at Nuffield Health Leicester for continuity, as I got on so well with him during the seven months before I had the surgery,” says Rudy. 

“I was worried my knee wouldn’t be the same and I would struggle to get back to competing again. I trust Anton’s expertise and he informed me I would have to start slow and build my strength in my knee gradually,” he adds. Rudy undertook a structured programme of exercising at home and visiting Nuffield Health Leicester for physiotherapy and rehabilitation. “I worked on balance and strengthening my calf muscles with Anton,” says Rudy.

“I enjoyed jumping over the step-bar and practising landing and taking off which was helpful for my knee’s recovery”

“When Rudy’s treatment started, we aimed at treating him to avoid the need for surgery. However, after completing a course of physiotherapy it was clear that he would require to be seen by an orthopaedic consultant. Surgery for a young person is not something we would look to rush, but it was clear that it was required, adds Anton.

"Following surgery, Rudy worked extremely hard to get back to dancing with our support. He worked on every aspect, whether that was load management, improving his explosive strength or controlled balance,” says Anton.

“It has been great to hear Rudy has returned to full activity with no complications and is competing at the highest levels of dancing”

Having regained trust in his knee, Rudy has now returned to competitive dancing. “I was nervous in my first competition in April 2022,” says Rudy. “It was a strange experience as I had not competed since before COVID. I took part in regional All England dance competitions in May 2022 and then qualified for the National All England Finals, an ambition of mine,” he adds.

"I won the Gold medal for Modern Dance in the age of 15-19 category and then went on to come 2nd in the Young Modern Dancer of the Year category,” says Rudy.

Rudy is now planning for a bright future. “I’m considering attending Musical Theatre College” says Rudy.

“I would have probably gone there before but couldn't because of my injury. I will pursue that now and I’m so happy to be over that mental challenge, wondering if I could dance again,” he adds.

Good luck Rudy, everyone at Nuffield Health will be cheering you on!

If you are considering physiotherapy, please contact Anton Horne, a Physiotherapy Manager at Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital.

Credit to @mk10photography for the photographs of Rudy.

Last updated Wednesday 19 July 2023

First published on Tuesday 31 January 2023