Introduction: From Pain to PBs
Proximal hamstring tendinopathy (PHT), also known as high hamstring tendinopathy, is a debilitating condition that can affect athletes and non-athletes alike. In this blog post, we’ll explore Liz’s inspiring success story as she battled PHT and came out stronger. We’ll delve into her journey, from the onset of symptoms to her recovery, highlighting her experiences with sitting pain, strength training, running, and cross-training. Let’s discover the strategies and insights that helped Liz conquer PHT and even achieve personal bests (PBs) in her running endeavors.
Liz’s Background & Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy Diagnosis:
Liz, a dedicated runner from Huddersfield, UK, developed PHT in late 2020. Prior to the diagnosis, she had been an avid runner for over a decade, participating in various races, including marathons and half marathons. Her fitness level was at its peak when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted her training for the London Marathon, ultimately leading to her PHT diagnosis.
Managing PHT: A Rocky Start:
Liz’s journey with proximal hamstring tendinopathy began with a misdiagnosis of perineal tendonitis. She initially attempted to manage her symptoms through extensive cross-training, online pilates sessions, and stretching. Her determination to stay fit and maintain her running form inadvertently contributed to the worsening of her condition. By November-December 2020, she started experiencing gluteal pain, which she initially thought was related to piriformis syndrome.
A Turning Point: Correct Diagnosis and Treatment:
In March, Liz sought a biomechanical assessment from a different physiotherapist in Manchester, which led to a correct diagnosis of high hamstring tendinopathy. This marked a turning point in her recovery journey. She was advised to stop stretching her hamstrings excessively and to begin a more targeted rehabilitation program.
Sitting Pain and Its Impact:
One of the most challenging aspects of Liz’s PHT journey was the sitting pain. She found it excruciating and described feeling uncomfortable even during long car journeys. As a head teacher, her job involved a significant amount of desk work, which made managing sitting pain even more challenging.
Liz’s sitting pain persisted, even as she resumed running and walking. It was often delayed, causing discomfort the day after prolonged sitting. Managing sitting pain required patience, as it was one of the last symptoms to improve during her recovery.
Strategies for Managing Sitting Pain:
Liz tried various strategies to alleviate sitting pain, including using cushions and sit-stand desks. She found that adjusting the angle of her legs while sitting and being mindful of her sitting duration helped to some extent. Gradually, as her overall condition improved, her sitting pain began to dissipate.
Strength Training for Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy Recovery:
Strength training played a crucial role in Liz’s PHT recovery. While she may not have done as much strength training as recommended, she recognized its importance and consistently incorporated it into her marathon training regimen. Building strength in the muscles surrounding the hamstrings helped support her recovery and reduce the risk of re-injury.
The Psychological Aspect:
Liz discovered a connection between her psychological state and her experience of pain. Stress and anxiety seemed to trigger flare-ups of her symptoms. To manage this, she turned to mindfulness and positive thinking as tools to cope with the emotional challenges of her PHT journey.
Achieving PBs and New Goals:
Liz’s determination and resilience paid off. She not only recovered from PHT but also achieved a personal best time of 3 hours and 15 minutes in the marathon, a significant improvement. She also ventured into triathlons, conquering her fear of swimming and successfully completing her first sprint triathlon and duathlon.
Liz’s journey from PHT pain to personal bests serves as an inspiring testament to the power of perseverance, correct diagnosis, targeted rehabilitation, and a positive mindset. Her story highlights the challenges of managing proximal hamstring tendinopathy, particularly sitting pain, and the importance of strength training in the recovery process. Liz’s success story demonstrates that with determination and the right approach, it is possible to overcome PHT and achieve new athletic goals.
If you’re dealing with PHT or a similar condition, remember that seeking professional guidance and adopting a holistic approach to rehabilitation can make all the difference in your journey toward recovery and achieving your fitness aspirations.