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In conversation with Tom Folan on his running injury

May 19, 2023
Tom Folan running

We were really pleased to help Tom get a clear diagnosis of his ongoing running injury. An MRI scan of his lower spine and sacrum unfortunately showed a stress fracture. A runners worst nightmare but Tom is now able to follow the appropriate treatment pathway to get on the road again. Read our conversation with Tom below. 

Can you introduce yourself and what you do?

My name is Tom, and I used to be a professional football freestyler. However, I have transitioned into running over the past five years. I took running seriously until I encountered my first significant running-related injury. In an attempt to understand the root cause, I visited Jorja Healthcare and underwent an MRI scan.

Do you know how you sustained your running injury?

I was training diligently and probably in the best shape of my life. I had completed a solid six-week training block with my coach, Andy Hodell, and was thoroughly enjoying every step of the process. Admittedly, I may have pushed myself too hard at times, adding extra runs without allowing for adequate rest. In the past, when dealing with previous injuries, I sought help from my trusted physiotherapist, Paul Martin from Physio Remedies. I had great confidence in him due to his successful assistance with previous issues. However, this time, despite Paul’s efforts to identify the root cause through various tests and exercises, we couldn’t alleviate the discomfort.

Paul wanted to rule out any spinal or sacral injury, so I was referred for an MRI scan of my lumbar spine and sacrum. Initially, I had reservations about lying still for 30 minutes, but surprisingly, it turned out to be a meditative experience. Having observed other athletes with bone stress-related injuries undergo X-rays, which didn’t reveal the injury, I understood that an MRI was the only way to accurately diagnose my injury, as it shows bone stress responses and fractures.

Typically, obtaining an MRI scan can be a lengthy process. However, being able to get an appointment at Jorja Healthcare within just two days was truly remarkable.

Tom Folan Instagram

"And it reached a point where I couldn't do bike sessions or cross-training because it was exacerbating the issue. I couldn't run, so I was essentially unable to do anything. The most difficult part about being injured is the lack of answers and clarity surrounding it."

As well as an MRI did you try any other services?

Today, I also had my blood tests done, something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. As a plant-based vegan for the past 10 years, I haven’t had my blood tested during that entire period. Having the opportunity to identify potential deficiencies and determine where I need to focus more on my diet and supplementation is incredibly valuable.

I believe that gaining such comprehensive insights into our bodies is immensely beneficial for runners, athletes, and individuals in general. Getting blood tests removes the guesswork and provides a clear understanding of what’s happening internally.

Would you recommend Jorja Healthcare to others in a similar situation?

The most challenging aspect of being injured is the lack of answers and clarity. Whether the diagnosis confirms a sacral stress fracture or response, I just want to know the truth. If I discover that I need a 12-week recovery period without running and have a clear rehabilitation plan with my physio, I’ll be able to sleep better at night than I have been in recent weeks when I was uncertain about what was going on.

Ultimately, receiving a clear diagnosis is crucial for a successful recovery from the injury. It provides the mental clarity I need. Today’s experience, from the warm reception to the clear and concise explanations throughout the process, was impeccable. Even the music playing during the scan created a soothing atmosphere. Despite the initial apprehension one might have about sterile and clinical environments, Jorja Healthcare manages to create a friendly and accommodating atmosphere. Therefore, I wholeheartedly recommend anyone who is contemplating whether to self-refer for an MRI or seek a referral from a physio or clinician to consider this option based on my positive experience today.

If you would like to book an MRI scan for yourself or someone else, you can do so here.