Success story: James & his return to running

Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy Success Story: James Returns to Running


In this podcast episode, we will delve into a success story about James and his journey to overcome proximal hamstring tendinopathy (PHT). This condition, often abbreviated as PHT, can be quite debilitating, affecting both athletes and non-athletes. However, with the right knowledge and evidence-based treatments, it is possible to conquer this condition. Join us as we follow James’ story and uncover valuable insights for PHT recovery.

Meet James

James, a 29-year-old recreational athlete, shares his running journey spanning over eight years. Before taking up running, he had a strong foundation in team sports, including Australian football and soccer. As he transitioned to running, James gradually increased his distances, eventually running marathons. Running became his main stress-relief outlet and a source of endorphin rushes. Remarkably, he managed to remain injury-free until the arrival of proximal hamstring tendinopathy.

The Slow Burn of Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy

James describes how PHT crept up on him rather than manifesting suddenly. In 2020, during Melbourne’s lockdown, he found himself stuck in a routine that wasn’t conducive to his physical well-being. With a one-hour window for outdoor exercise, he’d start his day with a 10K run. However, the lack of variety and excessive sitting during the rest of the day took a toll on his body. He began experiencing sharp, radiating pain from his glute to his feet, particularly when sitting.

Initial Confusion and Seeking Help

Like many individuals facing pain, James began with internet research and attempted various home remedies, such as stretching and foam rolling for what he believed was piriformis-related pain. Frustrated with the lack of results, he sought medical advice and was prescribed anti-inflammatory medications. An ultrasound in early 2021 revealed that the issue was not his piriformis but rather his hamstring origins, indicating proximal hamstring tendinopathy.

Impact on Daily Life

James’ discomfort extended beyond just sitting for long periods; it started affecting his social interactions and even disrupted his running routine. In an attempt to alleviate his pain, he reduced his running distance to a mere 2-3 kilometers, and the absence of strength training further contributed to his struggles.

Embracing Knowledge and Online Physiotherapy

As the pain persisted, James decided to seek professional help. His research led him to the world of proximal hamstring tendinopathy and the Run Smarter podcast. With the guidance of Brody Sharp, an online physiotherapist, James embarked on his rehabilitation journey.

Key Insights and Breakthroughs

James highlights three significant breakthroughs that accelerated his recovery:

1. Abandoning Stretching

Ceasing his stretching routine turned out to be a pivotal moment. When he stopped stretching, he noticed significant improvements in his condition.

2. Understanding PHT

Listening to the Overcoming PHT and Run Smarter podcasts helped James grasp the fundamentals of proximal hamstring tendinopathy. This knowledge empowered him to make informed decisions about his recovery.

3. Emphasizing Strength Training

James had previously neglected strength training in his eight-year running journey. However, as he introduced strength exercises, such as hamstring curls, squats, deadlifts, and kettlebell swings, he saw remarkable progress. Strength training was the missing link that transformed his recovery and performance.

The Importance of Load

James’ experience underlines the significance of progressively increasing load during rehabilitation. He overcame initial apprehensions about exercise-induced pain and discovered that tendons thrive on load. By following a structured strength training program, he saw a considerable improvement in his condition.

A Holistic Approach to Recovery

James’ journey demonstrates the need for a holistic approach to overcoming proximal hamstring tendinopathy. A mix of exercises, tailored to individual needs, proved highly effective in his recovery.

Current Status

As James embraced his physiotherapy journey, his running improved significantly, and his symptoms subsided. Prior to the most recent lockdown, he continued to work on strength training and was enjoying a positive trajectory towards full recovery.

By sharing James’ success story, we hope to inspire and educate individuals dealing with proximal hamstring tendinopathy. This journey emphasizes the importance of understanding the condition, progressively increasing load, and embracing strength training to achieve a full recovery. If you’re facing PHT, remember that knowledge, patience, and a holistic approach can make a significant difference in your journey back to running and an active, pain-free life.