The 19-year-old skater from London, Ont., missed the Grand Prix Final in Goyang City, South Korea, last month. She and her partner Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., could very well have won it. As world silver medalists, their routines may be the most riveting of any dance team in the world right now. It's just that nobody has seen them yet.
She's been back on the ice for only about five or six weeks, and with the Canadian figure-skating championships next week, Virtue realizes she has a lot of work to do. Will they be ready?
After some difficulty in diagnosing the problem, doctors finally said she had chronic external compartment syndrome, an overuse injury that is most commonly found in young athletes who are involved in endurance sports.
She had surgery on both of her legs in September to relieve growing pressure in her tissues and underwent physiotherapy, too.
Virtue felt pain in her shins last year that used to bother her only when she did compulsory dances. The pain never affected her performance. She had a break after the world championships, but when their training intensified, so did the pain and it took on a completely different form from what she had felt before: an aching, tight feeling. The pain began to hold her back from training. And they had been training intensely, she said.
“It's more common than I thought it was,'' Virtue said of chronic external compartment syndrome. “So many factors go into it.''
Now Virtue has a plan for her comeback. “I have to be patient,'' she said. It's easy for skaters to get carried away when they train. “When I'm on the ice, I feel great,'' she said. Adrenaline takes over. She wants to go for it. Now she can't always.