Home » Injury and Pain Psychology Support: Case Study 2
James: A runner, dad & working professional in his early 30s.
James’s physio suggested we might be able to help him. 10 months after being diagnosed with Achille’s tendonitis, his Achilles was strong, but nerve-type symptoms persisted.
Prior to injury, James’s active life was an important part of who he was and his physical, mental and social health. He regularly ran 10k races and trained 5-8k, 3x/week. A small niggle became worse, until James was unable to exercise or complete normal life activity. This, the continuing pain, and lock-down, left James feeling very low. Eventually, he saw his GP who prescribed a low dose of medication to reduce his anxiety.
How Support Helped
When our support started, James had carefully progressed to an easy, 20-minute jog on the flat. His mental health had to some extent improved, but he remained; low in energy, deeply frustrated by the ‘unfairness’ of the injury, and sad that he couldn’t live life as he wanted and its effect on others. He felt unable to move freely and wary of doing any normal life activity that might overload the Achilles or that required quick or certain movements: When he did so, the pain remained for a number of days.
Over 5 sessions (3 months) of our support, James worked hard to:
- Understand what caused his pain and how to prevent and manage a flare-up.
- Cope better with the ‘unfairness’ of the injury and with the ‘not so good days’.
- Overcome his fear of movement and to have a more flexible exercise approach that satisfied his exercise motives.
By the end of our support, James rarely had ‘bad days’. He felt; more positive, more energetic – especially in the mornings, and better able to cope. He was also confident enough to stop his medication. He had also become able to enjoy training without fear and increased his training load to successfully complete a 10K race.
A few months later, James got back in touch to say that he’d completed a half marathon. Although slow compared to his previous times, he saw it as one of his best ever races and proud for what he had overcome. He was also delighted that his new mental approach and coping strategies had enabled him to run better than he’d thought possible.