Read about Charlene’s experience and follow her on her journey to recovery on her Instagram blog @thecardiochameleon

Injury, that big word that we all dislike hearing. When you love your sport or activity, even if you are not a professional athlete, it’s extremely hard to come to terms with the necessary rest and recovery periods that sometimes come with injury, and even more with the prospect of never being able to return to your sport ever again.

As a runner, hip injuries are probably one of the worst nightmares; they can stop you from running altogether and they can have a long recovery process. And unfortunately, at times, running again may not be on the cards at all.

Hip dysplasia is an abnormality of the hip joint where the hip socket does not fully cover the head of the femur, creating instability, limiting movement and increasing the risk of dislocations. It can also increase the likelihood of developing arthritis and lower back pain therefore running is often not an option during the recovery phase of your journey!

Hip dysplasia is generally congenital, or it develops in the first year of life, but at times, it can be mild and go un-noticed until later in life. This is why we really try to teach our runners good technique, and get them on progressive rehabilitation programs to support their running maximally.

Labral Tears are tears in the fibrocartilage which covers the hip socket providing stability and occur in 70% of people with hip dysplasia due to the increased instability of the joint.

Once the diagnosis is made, it is often followed by the advice to never run again!

This is what happened to Charlene, a keen runner with the goal to complete all the World Marathons Majors.

When you are diagnosed with an injury, you can let the injury define your future, or you can fight your way back. Charlene is fighting, and her fight is truly inspiring!

Read her story!

  • How did the injury develop

There were a few factors which caused my injury. The first is that I have hip dysplasia – which means my hip joints are formed abnormally and are not as strong/ stable as they ought to be. However, mine is a relatively minor case, and it was undiagnosed until this year. Last year was my biggest year of racing – I ran 7 marathons, did two triathlons and the Prudential 100. This meant I did a lot of running fatigued – the worst thing you can do with hip dysplasia. The led to me developing a tear on my labrum – which has totally stopped me running for the last 15 weeks.

  • How has Function360 supported you?

I’ve been working with Jordane and Ben at F360 as part of managing the injury and my recovery. I met with a consultant who noticed that as well as the labral tear my hips were quite weak. Ben has designed me a strengthening programme to improve my core, hips, glutes, abductors and posterior chain. Jordane has been helping me to relieve the tightness in the area affected, which has allowed me to carefully return to training (swimming and cycling).

As well as the strengthening and recovery, both Ben and Jordan have been amazingly supportive. I’ve been pretty gutted to not run this year – I had planned to race marathons in Manchester, London and Liverpool which I’ve had to cancel and have really missed running most days. They have cheered me up when I’ve been feeling down and encouraged me to keep working at the rehabilitation.

  • How did you have to change your training?

Gone from being a frequent runner to unable to run at all. Much more swimming, cycling and strength/ core work. Initially I stopped swimming but have been able to gradually build back up. Using my turbo trainer was easier than cycling outside due to sitting upright posture – able to build leg strength and do long sessions on the bike.

  • What was the most difficult thing for you?

The lack of running, as well as the difficult message that I might never be able to run again due to the dysplasia. I had a lot of goals, most prominently trying to run 30 marathons before I turn 30 next year and to run the 6 world majors. I’ve managed to complete 23 marathons, and half of the world majors – and had plans to complete some exciting races to get to that magic number 30.

  • What did you learn from your injury?

The experience has reinforced the important of properly preparing for races. Not just in terms of completing the long runs but ensuring that I’ve done the strength training to support the miles I’m running in training. Getting a bit more time between races to recover properly is critical – I’ve definitely learned a little more about what a marathon takes out of the body.

  • What is your next goal and how is Function360 helping you get there?

Short term – I’m completing an aqua bike event (a swim and then bike). F360 have supported me by giving me the confidence to get the start line again, and to do the swimming and cycling to get me in a good place for the race. I had signed up to do my first Ironman 70.3 triathlon at the start of July – I definitely can’t do the run unfortunately but I should be able to complete the swim and cycle sections and might even try to walk to the finish if I can build up enough of a buffer over the cut off times.

Looking further ahead, I’ll need to have surgery to repair the labral tear, and then will need to work hard to recover. Now that I know about the hip dysplasia I can be far more careful how I approach training. The advice for people with hip dysplasia is not to do endurance running – and I definitely can’t go back to 7 marathons a year. But, if I can strengthen my hips and recover sensibly, then I might be able to get back to some kind of running – and I’d love to finish the remaining world majors if I can.

  • What do you want to say to someone with the same injury?

Stay positive, things will get better and the pain will ease. Keep a journal and be strict about filling it in every day. It’s really useful to have a record of what you did on any given day so you can understand what is helping your pain and what is making things worse. When you’re meeting with physios or consultants it’s really helpful to have a clear record of what you did and didn’t do – as it can be hard to remember fully how much pain you were in.

Don’t forget to follow Charlene on her journey to recovery on her Instagram blog @thecardiochameleon & inspire each other through your stories!

FIND US: Function360, 118a London Wall, EC2Y 5JA


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118A London Wall, EC2Y 5JA

We are based on London Wall, City of London, moments away from a few of the main underground stations. Our closest tube stations are: Moorgate, Liverpool Street and Bank stations.


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