Meet Amy Beck
Amy Beck is a pediatrician residing in San Francisco, California. She’s an avid runner who turned to the sport for stress relief during her medical training. Over the years, her love for running grew, leading her to participate in road races, trail races, half marathons, and even completing a marathon in 2019.
Before her encounter with Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy (PHT), Amy had a relatively injury-free running journey. She had successfully trained for a marathon in 2019 without any significant issues. However, a mild bout of piriformis syndrome a few months prior to her PHT diagnosis was her only prior running-related challenge.
The Onset of Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy
Amy’s hamstring tendinopathy journey began in February 2020. She recalls feeling deep buttock pain during runs, initially questioning whether it was related to skiing. However, the pain persisted, mainly at the start of her runs, gradually improving as she ran. Amy recognized the location of the pain and suspected PHT, which led her to start doing bridges to alleviate it.Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted her exercise routine, and her symptoms worsened when she resumed running in November 2020. The pain extended to sitting and driving, making everyday activities increasingly uncomfortable.
Faced with escalating discomfort, Amy decided to take a break from running. She recognized the potential harm in continuing and wanted to avoid exacerbating her condition. For approximately eight to nine weeks, she abstained from running entirely.
Seeking Professional Help
During her break from running, Amy consulted a physical therapist. While some of the therapist’s recommendations were helpful, such as incorporating hamstring strengthening exercises, they encouraged stretching—an approach that did not prove beneficial for Amy. The stretching seemed to worsen her symptoms, leading her to question the advice she was receiving.
In her search for more effective solutions, Amy stumbled upon the Run Smarter podcast and video course. The information she found resonated with her experience and offered an alternative perspective on managing PHT. She learned that stretching might not be the right approach for this injury and that progressive strengthening was key to recovery.
Strengthening Her Hamstring Tendon
Amy’s progress was gradual but noticeable. She began her rehabilitation by doing bridges with her legs elevated and Nordic hip dips. Over time, she incorporated single-leg deadlifts and eventually moved on to barbell exercises. Her physical therapist guided her through these strength-training phases, ensuring proper form and progress.
Around eight weeks into her strengthening program, Amy introduced plyometric exercises into her routine. These exercises involved jumping and rapid movements, challenging her muscles and tendons further. While initially apprehensive, she followed a gradual progression and paid attention to her body’s response.
One key revelation for Amy was understanding the concept of load versus capacity in rehabilitation. She learned that experiencing some discomfort during exercises was acceptable, as long as it did not worsen her condition the next day. Overcoming the initial fear of aggravating her tendon was a crucial step in her recovery.
Balancing Strength Training and Running
Amy faced the challenge of balancing strength training and running. Initially, running on the same day as a full strength training session proved too much for her. She alternated her workouts to allow for adequate recovery and avoid overloading her tendon.
Amy emphasized the importance of gradual progression in both strength training and running. Celebrating small victories along the way and not rushing the process were key components of her successful recovery. She highlighted the need for a balanced approach to rehabilitation, combining physical exercises with stress reduction, mindfulness, and quality sleep.
Running had been Amy’s primary stress relief outlet, so dealing with PHT required her to explore alternative methods for managing stress. She found solace in activities like walking and sought ways to appreciate the outdoors and me-time, even without running.
Embracing a Holistic Approach
In conclusion, Amy’s journey to recovery from PHT highlighted the importance of taking a holistic approach to injury rehabilitation. Understanding the biomechanics of the injury, managing stress, cultivating a positive mindset, and celebrating small victories were all integral aspects of her successful journey back to running.
Amy’s story serves as an inspiring reminder that overcoming running injuries like PHT is possible with the right mindset, structured rehabilitation, and a well-rounded approach to health and well-being.