A TALENTED Highland dancer has donned her kilt again only five months after making a remarkable recovery from spinal surgery.

Isla Robertson, 15, has been a pupil at May Hughes School of Dance since she was six years old.

She enjoys Highland and tap classes, winning several trophies at competitions, and is now back at class walking through the dances.

Two years ago the teenager was stricken with terrible back pain which was so unbearable she had to be helped to sit up in bed.

Her mum Alison, 43, of Glen Douglas Road, said: "Isla started having pains in her back and the GP sent her to different departments to find out what was wrong.

"She was sent to the orthopaedic department at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and then to rheumatology at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

"It was only then she was finally diagnosed with Scheuermann's disease and scoliosis."

Scheuermann's, or Kyphosis, is caused by abnormally shaped vertebrae.

In Isla's case they took on a wedged, triangular shape rather than the normal rectangular box shape and this left her vertebrae out of position, combined with the curvature of the spine.

It's believed that the problem developed during a growth spurt between the ages of 12 and 15.

Isla, who lives with Alison, dad Brian and brother Euan, 13, said: "It was so horrible, the pain was so bad you cannot imagine."

"Even when I was lying in bed I was in pain."

Alison said: "We had to literally sit her up in bed in the morning until she had painkillers."

Isla, a pupil at St Columba's High, underwent a seven hour operation at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh in November to straighten her back.

She said: "I was nervous but not as much as I should have been - I was more relieved that something was happening to lead to better things.

"I didn't want to be like that forever.

"My biggest fear was that I wouldn't be able to dance again."

Alison said: "Isla had two titanium rods inserted in her back with 15 bolts.

"The operation was still a gamble because there was no guarantee that she wouldn't be in pain or that she would be able to dance again.

"She's done extremely well.

"She has been sensible and has followed the surgeon's instructions to the letter.

"Isla is so determined, her focus is to get back to dancing and she has been working towards that.

"She has big plans and is back at her tap class, she is not dancing at Highland yet but she is determined she will dance again.

"We are very proud of what she's achieved."

The surgery has changed the schoolgirl's life for the better.

When she was ill she missed a lot of school but now she is making up for lost time and sitting exams

Isla said: "It's a different sort of pain and I know it's going to go away.

"I used to go school one in every 10 days, now I miss school in one day out of 10.

"I think have recovered quicker than anyone thought I would."

The life-changing treatment also means her back is rigid and she cannot bend at all which isn't necessarily a bad thing for a highland dancer.

Isla said: "I just want to compete again, even if I come last.

"My aim is to dance at next year's Gourock Highland Games and I'm taking part in my dance school's show in November."

She was also swift to praise he dance teachers May Hughes and Sharon Murdoch.

She said: " I couldn't have had better teachers, they have always believed in me and said I could do it, even when I didn't think I could."

May Hughes who runs the dance school with her daughter Sharon, is also full of admiration for Isla's remarkable recovery.

She said: "She's been a wee miracle.

"She was just at her prime when all this happened, winning trophies all over the place then she had to stop dancing all together.

"She has been sitting waiting for the day when the doctors told her she could dance again.

"Isla is back at the tap class but we have to wait a bit longer before she goes back to the Highland one, although she comes along and has walked through a reel and helps with the wee ones."

Sharon added: "Isla is a beautiful dancer and an absolute trouper, inspiration and a joy to have in the class.

"Considering what she's been through, she's so positive and so upbeat and positive about everything."