Overcoming Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy: Rob Jones’s Success Story
In this podcast episode transcript, we will delve into the inspiring journey of Rob Jones as he successfully conquered Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy (PHT). PHT is a challenging condition that often affects athletes and can be incredibly debilitating. Rob’s story is a testament to the power of persistence and effective rehabilitation strategies in overcoming this condition.
Meet Rob Jones
Rob Jones is a 40-year-old runner hailing from Worcester, a city not far from Birmingham. His preferred distance for running is the marathon, but he has dabbled in various other race categories, including 10K, 5K, and even track events. His journey into running began as a quest for fitness in his early 30s, eventually leading him to the competitive world of athletics.
The Onset of Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy
Rob’s battle with PHT commenced in early 2018 while he was training for a running race. During a race, he experienced an unusual sensation in his hamstring, which he initially described as a minor discomfort, rating it at around 3 out of 10 on the pain scale. Unfortunately, he continued to train on this discomfort, which would later prove to be a critical mistake.
Initial Symptoms and Mismanagement
In the early stages, the discomfort Rob felt was localized in the belly of his hamstring. However, over time, the pain evolved and began to manifest in the upper portion of his hamstring, near the sit bones. Looking back, Rob suspected that the initial discomfort in the belly of the hamstring might have been related to the later development of PHT. At this point, Rob had not received a proper diagnosis or treatment for his condition, and he continued to train and compete.
The London Marathon and Progression of Symptoms
Despite the persistent discomfort, Rob pushed through and completed the London Marathon. His symptoms, though, continued to change and intensify. Initially, the pain would occur at the start of a run but would subside after a mile or two. However, as time passed, the pain intensified with longer runs, and sitting became increasingly uncomfortable.
Seeking Medical Help
Rob’s situation escalated, and he decided to seek medical help. His doctor ordered an MRI scan, which revealed thickening of some tendons and a split in one of them. With this diagnosis, Rob began his journey to find the right treatment.
Initial Disheartening Encounters with Healthcare Professionals
Rob’s initial encounters with healthcare professionals were disheartening. He visited a well-known physiotherapist, who told him that he would have to manage his condition for the rest of his life. This physiotherapist provided him with a few exercises, including single-leg squats and single-leg deadlifts. However, these exercises were too advanced for Rob at the time and led to flare-ups.
Exploring Different Approaches
Undeterred, Rob continued his quest for a solution. He consulted multiple physiotherapists, a chiropractor, and two osteopaths. Despite these efforts, he still struggled to find effective treatment.
A Turning Point: Proper Rehabilitation
Rob’s turning point came when he found a physiotherapist who provided him with a structured rehabilitation program. The program started with very low-level exercises, such as holding a hamstring bridge for just five seconds. These seemingly basic exercises were precisely what Rob needed at that stage.
The 24-Hour Rule
Rob’s physiotherapist stressed the importance of what he calls the “24-hour rule.” If irritation subsided within 24 hours after an exercise, it was considered safe. Rob found that occasionally provoking the tendon just slightly, causing a minor flare-up, helped in the long term.
Transitioning to the Gym
Around December or January, after listening to advice on progressive rehabilitation, Rob decided to take his rehab to the gym. He gradually increased the weights and started performing squats and deadlifts with heavier loads. This shift to the gym marked a significant improvement in his recovery.
Gym Routine and Progress
Rob’s gym routine included exercises like squats, deadlifts, seated hamstring curls, single-leg bridges, and Nordic hamstring curls. He maintained this routine four to five times a week, progressively increasing weights and repetitions. Over time, his squatting strength improved to 50 kilograms, and he noticed substantial gains in his overall strength and mobility.
Return to Running
Rob’s goal was to return to running, and he initiated run-walk intervals, starting with one minute of running followed by one minute of walking. While there was some discomfort during these runs, he persisted as long as the irritation subsided within 24 hours. Rob has been steadily progressing with his running and remains committed to his rehabilitation.
Rob Jones’s journey from the onset of PHT to his successful recovery is a testament to the power of persistence, proper rehabilitation, and the importance of progressive loading. His story serves as inspiration for others facing the challenges of proximal hamstring tendinopathy, demonstrating that with the right approach, it is possible to overcome this debilitating condition and return to an active lifestyle.