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I once broke  my foot whilst teaching a pole dancing class. I did a cartwheel and landed awkwardly, and my 5th metatarsal (made famous by David Beckham in the 2002 World Cup) snapped like a twig. It sounded like a twig snapping anyway, or possibly a lolly stick. I also bruise very very badly, especially when in training. Those of a nervous disposition may want to look away now.

When this photo was published in a blog, it was inundated with comments from readers concerned for my health and personal wellbeing. (I’m OK guys, I just bruise very easily). DO NOT WORRY. You will not end up with legs like this just because you pole dance. Let’s take this picture as testament to my clumsiness, awkwardness, lifelong tendency to bruise badly, and a habit of continuing to train long after I should really go home for a nice cup of fruit tea and a hot bath. But the fact is, while broken bones and serious injuries in pole are thankfully rare, minor injuries – bruises, abasions, body parts that just feel “a bit ruined” – are pretty much part and parcel of what we do.   So, ladies and gentlemen, with this in mind, I present, for your delight and delectation, the roll call of pole dancing injuries. Gaze on in wonder as your image of pole dancing as an easy leisure pursuit or male fantasy vanishes before your eyes! Marvel at complicated ways to injure your body you never thought possible! Admire the women who put themselves through such things, and then photograph it and upload it to Facebook!What’s interesting is how much people love a dramatic injury. Nothing gets people quite so excited as a photo of an injured body part on social media. There could be a number of reasons for this: a genuine interest and concern for your fellow poler’s health from friends and wellwishers (possible) or that people love reading about pain and suffering and misfortune (much more likely). Pole dancing is hardcore. When starting out on the pole odyssey (by which I mean starting lessons but let’s make it sound Herculean) most students are surprised to find pole dancing is difficult, and it hurts. This is one of the reasons polers can be so defensive, and get annoyed when it isn’t taken seriously as a sport The first thing to deal with are the bruises. Pole dancers can spot other pole dancers a mile away. A rash of little bruises sweeping up the inner thigh? Superman. Top of the foot where your flip flop sits? Learning to climb. (There was a girl on The Apprentice in the UK a few years ago who wore a skirt one week and revealed some very suspicious looking bruises to the beady-eyed pole enthusiast)

Did I mention I bruise quite easily?

Pretty soon on your pole adventure you will come across pole burn – friction burns caused by skin-on-pole contact. This little pleasure really comes into its own when learning to pole sit. Oh, to hold your entire body weight clenched between your inner thighs! This is where it’s good to carry a little bit of meat on your thighs – more to grip with. I call this my KFC Pouch. Watch in awe as ladies climb, sit, hold, release and rub their inner thighs in agony whilst taking the Lord’s name in vain and cursing all his cherubim and seraphim to high heaven. You may also come across the joys of floor/carpet burns when landing your spins. And it’s not just knees – when executing a floor move pushing back from a press-up position I have experienced carpet burn on the chin – which is not easy to explain at the school PTA meeting. For those who still maintain pole dancing is about titillating men, ladies and gentlemen I bring you callouses. Spinning around the pole will wear the skin on your hands – and when your spins get fast, you will wear the skin harder, until eventually a little line of callouses will develop. These may extend to the little patch of skin on the inner side of your wrist. These double up as exfoliating pads when treating your significant other to a nice scratchy massage. Callouses are good and are to be encouraged as they will protect your hands, in much the same way a guitarist must develop callouses on their fingers to hold down the strings. If you pole dance a lot, the delicate skin on your inner thighs may start to toughen up too. My inner thigh skin resembles rhino hide, and it no longer tans in the sun, but on the plus side, I can hold both my and my doubles partner’s entire body weight on my thighs without even wincing, so every cloud.

One day, you too can have thighs that are a different colour to your body

If you still think pole dancing is sexy, let’s talk about dry skin – moisturising will cause you to slip off the pole. Oh and some find stubbly legs grip the pole better – like velcro, possibly. On the other hand, all that walking about in shorts means bikini waxes are a regular feature, so there may be a porn-star-Hollywood meets Wild Woman of Borneo dichotomy going on. It can also help to keep your nails short. When changing grips and body position you may find your hand ends up somewhere it doesn’t normally go, and gouging a chunk of flesh out of your thigh (or worse) is not much fun. This goes double if you have – well – a doubles partner, or if you are an instructor. Carving into someone else’s flesh isn’t pleasant for anyone. All this, plus the fact that it’s obviously uncomfortable to wrap your nice soft body around a metal pole and stay there. New students often say “Is that right? It feels weird” and it does – because really, when would you have ever done anything similar before? On the plus side, you see a difference in muscle tone fast, within six weeks or so, and learn something new each week. You see your strength increase much faster than in any other fitness class I’ve been to, and all of the above hazards decrease as you perfect your technique. Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just clumsy. I’m the one with a million bruises after all. BEXIITA

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