Patrick Swayze soared to stardom in Dirty Dancing, but his personal life was filled with heartache; including a knee injury which nearly lead to his leg being amputated. Not many people knew about this injury, but it almost ended the dancer and actors career.
Swayze's earlier career
Swayze grew up dancing, his mother - Patsy Swayze, was a dance teacher who owned a studio in Houston, Texas. By the age of three, young Swayze was already taking ballet classes — and starting to add on extracurricular activities including ice skating, swimming, Little League sports, baseball and football.
When Swayze was 18, he suffered a major injury to his left leg during one of the final football games of his senior year. While he had been leaning toward choosing Gridiron over the arts, the incident led him to transfer his energy to gymnastics — and used dance as a method of therapy to strengthen his body.
Years later, another health setback struck when a tooth abscess led to a severe staph infection in his bloodstream which attacked his already weak and injured knee.
Doctors treating Swayze at the time said there was only one week for them to take action before it needed to be amputated. Fortunately, he was saved.
The infamous Dirty Dancing scene
We all remember the infamous Dirty Dancing scene where Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey practice their "lift" dance move in a lake. It’s a moment that was beautiful, tender and, as it turns out, pretty painful for Swayze.
The many hours spent rehearsing Dirty Dancing's lake scene caused Swayze's old knee injury to flair up, leaving him in an intense amount of pain. Additionally, the freeing water caused Swayze's knee to become stiff and sore. Swayze shared his vivid memories of the lake; "It was horrifyingly, hypodermically cold in that lake, and we filmed that scene over and over," he wrote in his autobiography.
In the following days after filming, Swayze had to have his knee drained. But he managed to battle through the tricky choreography, and watching the movie you would never know he was in pain.
Patrick Swayze died in 2009, at age 57 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Managing your knee pain
Whether you're at home with your partner, trying to perfect the "lift", using your time in isolation to become TikTok famous, or recovering from an old, niggling injury. It's important to manage your knee pain so you can keep moving and active.
By improving the stability of the knee, and reducing swelling, inflammation and pain; a knee support could have ensured Swayze wasn't in agony during filming.
Knee support for dirty dancing
The knee joint plays an instrumental role in weight-bearing and all our lower body movements. Although the knee joint is resilient, some factors can lead to damage and long-term wear and tear.
Bauerfeind has a large range of medical-grade knee braces which are clinically developed to improve knee stability and comfort without limiting mobility. For everyday relief from knee problems or support during sport.
Read more on Managing Knee Pain.
Dirty Dancing - Ankle Braces And Supports
If knees aren’t the thing stopping you from dancing the night away, but your ankles are, then you may benefit from one of our ankle braces.
For instance, Bauerfeind’s MalleoTrain S Open Heel Ankle Support mimics the conventional taping technique, with the use of a figure-of-eight strapping system to increase the ankle’s lateral stability. It also features a cut-out heel area which helps to increase proprioception and ground contact. This is perfect for someone who likes to dance barefoot and needs that extra stability around their ankle!
Looking for some dance inspiration? Try the final dance from Dirty Dancing, in this step-by-step video.
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Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.