Nerve or Hamstring Injury


I need advice....

I've been away from running for a year now.  Yes, A YEAR, and I'm slowly going insane, if I haven't already.  What started out as a shin splint issue, combined with a sharp pain in my right gluteal has morphed into an issue that I'm struggling to shift, or get a diagnosis for, and I wondered if anyone out there has experienced anything similar.

Basically, after stopping running after my first half marathon, on the advice of the phyiso for the shin splints, I was noticing that a nerve-type pain was travelling all down my right leg.  The physio suggested it was piriformis / sciatica.  This meant more time off running.  Anyway, this was coupled with a burning stinging sensation in my upper hamstrings, just where it meets the buttocks.  I was sent for an MRI scan in December because the theory was a trapped nerve in my back, combined with my hamstrings packing up because of weak glutes / poor running form.

The scan came back and apparently all was 'normal'.  Now, to say I was surprised is an absolute understatement!  To be suffering so much pain and for nothing to come up on the scan....?  What a shock. 

Now, as you can imagine, I've done a lot of research on this, and I am almost convinced that it is High Hamstring Tendonitis, as the symptoms sound spot on.  However, the NHS Physio (who I didn't rate at all) ruled this out and referred me to a neurologist.  Frustratingly, his opinion is that 'it's a back issue'.....  but I'll be sent for nerve conduction tests regardless.  Also, he said that I might just have to accept a life of 'managing pain'.  For God's sake, I'm 38 and don't want to be taking painkillers all my life.  Plus, I WANT TO RUN and it's breaking my heart not being able to.

Does this ring any bells for anyone?  I'm at the end of my tether.....

Thanks in anticipation



  • Hi Jo,

    I know exactly how you feel and currently going through very similar problems. Last year when training hard for a half marathon I felt a real ache in my left glute and it ran down into my hamstring. To cut a long story short I had an MRI scan which showed a bulging disc but the pain I was experiencing was coming from the SI joint in my lower back. On the advice of my physio I took up Pilates and have been doing that weekly for over a year for core strengthening. I also use a foam roller regularly.

    I'm now experiencing the same pain as you on my right side. My hamstrings and adductors occasionally have a burning feeling too. Again, the pain is connected to my SI joint in my right lower back. This time around the pain would also reach my ankle.

    I had a cranial osteopathy session last week for the first time. It was obvious that my legs looked different lengths and this was because the right side of my pelvis was out of alignment. I'm always sceptical of alternative treatments but after the first session my leg length discrepancy had disappeared and I was more flexible. I still need more sessions as it's not an instant cure but I'm hopeful.

    I definitely wouldn't rule out your problem being a lower back issue. I'm the same age as you and have had 3 children so wasn't surprised that my pelvis was out of alignment.

    I have improved my running form with help from a coach and my problems this time have come from marathon training. My long runs were simply run too hard and now I've had to defer London next week and am so upset.

    Here's hoping we both make speedy recoveries and get back to running soon.
  • Hi Jelly

    Thanks for the message.  Apologies for the delay getting back to you.

    Firstly, I wanted to say that I'm sorry to hear that you have had to pull out of the VLM - you must be really disappointed.  Injuries are so frustrating aren't they?

    I must say, our stories do sound similar!  I just wish my MRI scan had showed something as I feel months have been wasted (my physio didn't want to work on me until the back issue was resolved).

    I have been using the foam roller on and off, but I need to be more consistent.  I'm back seeing the physio on Friday as well as getting back into Pilates.  I know for sure that I have a weak core, so I shall be working on that...

    Can I ask how long you were out of running the first time?  Does the pain that travels down your leg feel 'nervey'?  I notice that mine gets worse when I sit cross legged.  The burning in the high hamstring area is very painful, isn't it?




  • Hi Jo

    It took a good 2 months before I started very easy running. I can't believe it's been a year for you. After about 3 sessions with the physio she decided to write to my GP asking for an MRI referral as it just wouldn't improve. The pain did ease off after 8ish weeks and weekly physio but It will never completely go away.

    Pilates has really worked wonders as my core was weak and it draw attention to the fact my right side is a lot weaker.

    Agree that injuries are frustrating. They always seem to surface at the most inconvenient of times. I'm so upset about the marathon but I had no choice.

    Yes this time it does feel like nerve pain as it's sometimes sharp but other times more achy. It's definitely coming from the si joint and I'm guessing whatever the issue is there that it's pressing on a nerve or damaged tissue. I'm also seeing the physio on Friday and she reckons this session will cure it. I really hope so but can't see miracles happening!

    I would insist that the physio writes to your GP for a scan referral. A year is far too long to be in pain and a scan may give you an answer. Be prepared for wear and tear to be part of the diagnosis as apparently we are not getting any younger. I was so grateful to the consultant for pointing that out to me!

    I found sitting would aggravate it too but since my last cranial session that has actually eased off. I wonder if it is your si joint as well because of the tightness in the hamstrings and the referral pain down to the ankle. It does sound so similar to me.

    Good luck with the physio on Friday
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