Shin Splints

Does anyone on here suffer with them? I never used to but I get them all the time now. I am training (trying to!) for a 10k charity run in July for Cerebral Palsy. I have done a couple of runs in one week and my shin splints that I thought I had got rid of after resting with the running for the last couple of months, have come straight back, and they are so painful!

Does anyone have any ideas a) how to get rid of the pain? and b) how to avoid them in the first place? I'll try anything it's really frustrating, not to mention painful!

The pain is mainly down the bottom of each leg on the inside of the shin bone and starts from about an inch above my ankles and continues about another 4 inches up each side. I usually try and rub them for a bit of relief although this really hurts, and another thing is that I don't really know if I am doing more harm than good in rubbing them?

All help would be greatly appreciated as it's painful not to mention impossible to run on. I am not overweight and pretty fit as I work out twice a week and consider myself at a reasonable fitness level.

Many thanks :)


  • I think the hardest thing for me is that I don't know if I should totally stop all forms of exercise for weeks on end for it to (hopefully_ clear up or if in fact I should keep on it. I really need to get rid of the pain ASAP so that I can keep training and not lose all of the fitness I have built up over the past few recent weeks :(
  • Check your trainers, they may be shot.

    Also build up your mileage, slowly, on softer surfaces.

    Concrete is very unforgiving.
  • Thanks Stump - well I have ordered a new pair of trainers which should hopefully turn up this week! Also I shall try the off road running as much as possible.

    So is it ok to still run with the pain? Will this make the pain decrease quicker if I exercise slowly instead of nothing at all?
  • I had "shin splints" in my right leg for ages and eventually got it sorted out with orthrotics...I overpronated with my right foot and supinated with my left. Effectively having 2 left feet.

    I had compartment syndrome where the sheath is too tight around my shin causing the blood flow to press on the nerves. Eventually my foot went numb and slapped on the ground as I run. It was visible as the shin was swolen around my ankle and went white due to lack of blood flow. I still get it now after not wearing my orthrotics after a while.
    It could be a stress fracture (or the start of one) if not compartment syndrome. In this case, rest ice, compression etc for a few weeks and then get back into it gently. Don't up the mileage too much too soon, give the muscles time to build up. In the mean time try the stepper or cycling or swimming and one legged squats....excellent for leg strength.
  • Mark - thanks for your advise. What do I need to do to check my running and get 'orthotics'? What did you do yourself?
  • Orthrotics may only be a last resort and new shoes (or correct shoes - motion control, neutral cushioning etc) may help you.

    Best thing to do is go to a proper junning shop (not jjb sports) with a treadmill so they can watch how you run and even video you. Best to try on a neutral pair first and if you notice your feet/lower leg collapsing in towards each other or bending a little away from each other then you will be an overpronator or supinator.

    I saw a podiatrist after getting this checked and she used a pressure mat to see exactly how my foot moved when running. From this custom insoles were made for me and work. (Cost £300 though).

    As youve been running a long time though I would try new trainers / off road training for a bit and see if it improves. Maybe have a week or so off doing some cross training first?
    Hope that helps.
  • Hi and many thanks for the advice. I have today receoved my new trainers, so I may go for a light run tonight offroad and see if I can ease my way back in. The trouble is though that it is raining and it means my new shoes will get dirty! hehe
  • Please let us know how you get on, as I've a similar problem iThink™
  • Hi guys. Well I went for a run tonight in my new trainers after not running for a week, and within 15 mins I was in a lot of pain, after 30 mins I could barely run and after 35 mins I had to stop in agony. This is terrible, I usually run for at least an hour. Any help at all would be great, many thanks :(
  • Does it hurt when you press the sore area or does it feel numb?

    Does it feel like the bone which is tender or the surrounding muscle?

    And when does it feel worse...morning/night/all the time/when you put your weight on your foot/ on toe off?
  • Ice, comfrey oil, rest then orthotics and increasing mileage very gradually worked for me.

    Seem to remember there's a good reader article on exercises for shin splints somewhere on RW, possibly in the forum. Do a search.
  • Mark - it REALLY hurts when I press there, not numb at all......

    It feels like the side underneath part of my inner shin BONE of that makes sense? - Any ideas?

    There are no better or worse times that it hurts in terms of the day or night time, but the second I start running it kills me

    Finally I would say that leaning more on the toes increases the pain more, although I don't run like that thats what is strange I actually run and land on my heels first.
  • Spooky Giraffe - (What a great name!) - what is Comfrey oil and where can I get it from? Also should I buy the ICE spray and use that?..How effective is it and how often should I repeat the use of icing?

    I hav searched on the RW website for shin splint but not a lot of useful info in terms of how to get over them :(

    Also why am I suffering from them now when I never used to?
  • Same symptoms as me, I'm off to a sports injury pro on Monday, I'll post my prognosis then.
  • It seems to me that the type of shoes you have may be the issue.

    I run in Adidas A cubed for a year with no issues (including road runnning). I was training for a 10K and doing really well so decide to buy myself a race shoe (Adistar comp) 2 wks before the race I wore them in the gym and did 10k great time but a slight pain after I finished which I didn't think anything of as I then went back to my old shoes road running for the next week. A week before the race I decided to do a 10 mile session on a treadmill in the new shoes, by the next morning I could hardly move, my leg was swollen from above the ankle to my mid calf and was very tender everyday get worse as the day progressed and I walked on it. I had to totally rest for a week.

    I was told it was shin splints due to me being mildly pronate.

    I've since gone back to my orginal shoes and I'm slowly building the distance back up, but what do I do with the new shoes?

    Can this be fixed by orthrotic innersoles?
    Can I do work in the gym to build muscle and prevent this?
    Or do I just throw the shoes in the bin ?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated
  • Thanks AP - name product of frustration when no combination of my name and memorable digits would be accepted on another site! Just kind of stuck.

    If it hurts that much then i would get proper advice asap and rest/ cross-train gently meanwhile.

    For info:

    Try starting with this article - accessed via 'Health' tab, then 'beating injury'. References to other stuff incl forum threads contained within.

    Generally, for acute stage of injury i think it's ice 3 times a day for 15 mins - i use a couple of bags of frozen peas wrapped in a tea-towel - cheap and reusable.

    Comfrey oil is made from leaves of comfrey plant (also known as knitbone). It's an anti-inflamatory. Most health food shops should stock it. I use it twice a day, morning and evening when i've got a problem.

    By all means do your own reading, but go and get some advice - that way you know what you're trying to treat and you know how to treat it.

    Let us know how you get on
  • Re race shoes - i'm sure there are other people that can offer better advice than me, but i'd say:

    1) put new shoes in cupboard for now
    2) get properly better incl appropriate strengthening exercises and gradually getting back to regular mileage

    then either:
    3)a) either very gradually introduce very short sessions (10k and 10m way too much) in race shoes - and stop immediately if there is a problem


    3)b) take shoes to reputable running shop where they can advise you whether you are in the right shoes for you and if not can they can be adjusted in any way.
  • Hi Aidrian,
    I had awful shin splints last year and I had my gait measured and subsequently changed my trainers. It just got worse! The only thing I could do was to stop the running for two weeks and relative rest. WHich means I still went to the gym but trained on the cross trainer and bike and row machine to keep up my fitness/stamina level. I kept offf the road for another week or so and used the treadmill to slowly build up my running again. It was a slow process but I found that if you hit the road too quickly it just sets you back again. I really think my main problem upping my speed and milage too quickly - build up slowly and your shins will love you for it.
    If I feel it starting again, I know I've done too much and adjust my training accordingly. I truly hope you sort it out soon. It's bloomin annoying.

    IF it's the bone that's hurting then its probably not compartment syndrome like I had but actual shin splints, ie a small stress fracture (especially if its when you put your toes on the ground when it starts). Ice, rest, elevation etc. anti inflammatories for a few days? Strapping it with tape?

    Get your gait checked out and have at least 1-2 wks running rest. Only do cross training which won't aggrevate the condition.

    Good luck with it but keep your head'll get through it!!
  • Hi guys, may I just say a HUGE thank you to everyone so far for all your help and advise. I shall do as mentioned as see how I get on. I may even try swimming again for a while as that's great exercise and a no impact one at that!!

    I will look into getting my running / gait checked out...I live in the Nottingham aera, any suggestions anyone?!
  • One other question, is does it help / make worse / make no difference at all if I rub them? I can't find this answer out anywhere!!
  • I suffered badly from shin splints and someone told me about strengthening exercises where you raise your leg and write the alphabet when sitting on the sofa etc. Since i have been doing this for the last 8 weeks i have not suffered at all (touch wood). I basically do this 3 times with each foot and so far so good. Sounds daft, but has worked for me
    Hope this helps
  • Hello Adrian,
    I have just been reading through the posts as when I started running 3 years ago I was in agony with shin splints. I started with the Race for Life 5ks as was raising money for charity as at that point I would not have even run for a bus!!
    I was definately running in the right trainers as my bro is an elite runner so was happy to try and help his beginner sister. Asics are our tried and tested shoes. As I started to improve I went to a sports shop and found that I over pronate with only my right foot but upped the spec for my trainers and it was corrected. Re the shin splints I have to agree with resting. It is the only solution even though frustrating when they have flared up. I used to rub mine with Cool Heat as felt I wanted to bring the heat down.
    I am sure you do but really good stretching before running is also really important. An excellent stretch is to sit on the floor with your legs outstretched then pull your toes towards you and hold it for about 10 seconds at a time and then repeat.
    My ex also noticed that I was running on my toes as opposed to striking the ground with my heel first so a quick adaptation and he was right it worked. I now (touch wood) do not suffer from them and am proud to say I completed the FLM with a hint of shin splints but my hips were shot!
    Don't give up as I am sure you will find something that works for you.
    Will sign off now as I am waffling!
    Good luck.
  • Thank you Spooky Giraffe.

    There in the cupboard, and I'm starting to build up distance and using the tread mill on a smalll gradient to see if will strengthen.
  • Thanks for the advise once again. I have a pair of Asics which are fab and also for the slight over pronators so I know I have the good footware. I mainly get them in my right shin the most, but my left has flared up and I know it is because I was trying to keep the weight off my right leg on the last run - not good at all!..

    Rest it is (arghhhhh!) with lightweight cardio work (i.e. swimming, cycling etc) for 2 or 3 weeks I guess, the trouble with me is that I am sooo impatient! :)
  • Don't despair. If you've got access to a gym with one of those hand cycle machines, they're a great way to get your cardio fix. You might even be ok on a rower.

    Otherwise, imagine you're taking part in a 2 week intense strength & flexibility training camp - loads of core work and stretching - and your body will thank you when you get your legs back.

    Recovery is definitely a race for tortoises not hares.
  • Oh and read this, if you've not stumbled across it already ...
  • Thanks :)
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