Dineke Austin - Blog 2: Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy (PHT) - 'These boots are made for walking...'

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When you can’t run: WALK!

 Not only is there confusion in the blogs between the identity of certain male Eagles; you read this correctly: PHT not PMT (though the effects on mood are remarkably similar: ask Trev!)

PHT: What is this beast of a condition that so many runners suffer from, as the recent formation of a dedicated Eagles Facebook group testifies?

The hamstring comprises 3 muscles which all attach to the ischial tuberosity – the bone in your bottom. The hamstring tendon is vulnerable to compression against the ischial tuberosity when the hip is flexed, and also has to deal with high loads during running. This combination of compressive and tensile load can make it vulnerable to developing tendinopathy.

Broadly speaking tendinopathy can be split into 3 main stages: reactive, disrepair, and degeneration. A reactive tendinopathy typically involves the tendon responding to a sudden increase in load: in my case a slight slip on marathon #4 and overstretching for 2 strides (repeated twice more: on a training run, and with the Beginners’ group). Pain is usually part of this response (!) and the tendon becomes very sensitive to load (either through compression or tension on the tendon).

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Disrepair can follow, if appropriate treatment is not as speedy as desirable (over Xmas/New Year holiday period!). If you imagine a pair of interlocked hands, fingers tightly woven together: this is how the hamstring fibres should look. In a case of disrepair, the fingers have gaps between them, between which fluid can accumulate, and sciatic nerve poke through. Degeneration: speaks for itself: when the damage is irreversible, and the best that can be done is to build more good tendon around the permanently damaged section. I don’t intend to visit that if it can be avoided!

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So where does this leave my VLM plans?

Unlike Gary, I am most definitely NOT marathon fit; and I am in turns wistful and admiring of Becky’s ability and tenacity in the face of her runner’s ‘niggles’ to run in this weather – and being welcomed back by that mouth-watering meal!

‘Training’ plans:

Immediate: TREATMENT

Short/medium-term: DIETARY- supplements

Medium/long term: REHAB! (This was before accident 3!)


Illustration 2: the contrast between my carefully-guided training plan, and the reality:



Will I give up?

You bet not! If there is ANYTHING I can do to be ready, run VLM, and do justice to the Club’s faith in me to represent Ealing Eagles with pride and courage, I will.

This is a steep learning curve: not before time! Patience (towards myself) being one of them; the importance of building core strength, and leg muscle strength possibly being key.

Meanwhile: I am helped to feel part of Ealing Eagles and the local running community by supporting the coaching team at Elthorne every Monday evening (floodlit!), and volunteering at both Gunnersbury and Acton Junior Parkruns. Not least, helped by the many Facebook messages and chance encounters that have been so supportive, welcome, and warming.

I also have no excuse for not reading ‘Runners’ World’ and ‘Women’s Running’; runners’ nutrition books and articles; and lots on running technique!

As said, famously (I can’t do the accent) ‘I will be back’!