Shin Pain

I know this has been covered many times before but....shin splints.

I've been running for many years and have even completed a couple of marathons. However, I have always suffered with pain on the inside of my shin bones about halfway up. This has recently resurfaced and I'm keen to get to the bottom of it.

I have previously seen a podiatrist and now use custom made orthotics which haven't cured it. I have also seen physiotherapists to no avail. At the moment I'm getting by on a combination of ibuprofen and self massage.

 I over-pronate and am a fairly heavy heel-striker. i haven't suddenly increased my mileage either.

So, forumistas....what is the best place to start to get rid of the pain? Is it technique? Should I try to adopt a more mid-foot strike? Or should I get a motion-control shoe such as the Brooks Beast (I currently use a more stabilty shoe of Asics 1130)? From what I can gather using the latter might prevent the former?




  • Shin splints seems to be a function of footwear (model and age), more so than most other conditions (and yes, gait is important too). Whether a bricky-style control shoe will do it or a less controlled one with a bit more cushioning is anyone's guess. Well, I couldn't guess anyway! But anyway, if you've been through all that palaver and not yet tried switching, it's got to be worth a go, hasn't it? I tend to shy away from excessive control features as a general rule, for what it's worth.

    I'd also vote for going easy on the heel striking (first move would be shorter strides, higher cadence), though that can open you up to a different set of problems. Whether to do that at the same time as changing your shoes is another complicated question!
  • Thanks Swerve. Will try new shoes, after a bit of gait analysis so that I can see what the experts say. Like you say, it should be worth a go.

  •  Hi , this is my first post so please be ... i have been running for a few months now and i am up to 5 miles (2 x 4m, plus 1 x 5m plus the occational game of golf/ week), but i have a similar pain associated with my mid shin, during my most recent run - monday i felt pain in my mid shin - sort of chronic pain. after i finished my run and the subsequent days. on applying pressure to the area (either side , almost to the rear of the bone) the area felt like it was sore and lightly bruised.

    I hit the ground quite hard,so i changed my running shoes from nike citius (reccommended by a running shop) and then  recently had my gait analysed and i am now using a pair of asics GT2140, these are the first pair of "proper " running shoes i have had, but the shin pain seems to flare-up  every six weeks as i have expirienced this pain before. My calves are pretty big - compared to my legs and maybe that is a factor?

    The pain affected my run time , but after 3 days of rest i feel fine and i am ready  to run again, the pain concerns me  but do not want to reduce my running - as i am really starting to enjoy it. 

    I have considered compression clothing, maybe my large calves are being jarred by my running style? would compression  clothing help me?

  • just left a message with mr puffy the thread above i have the same problem ive also been told this can come and go, have a read
  • Amputate from the neck
  • thats really helpful thanks!
  • 'Shin splints' is a very generic term for pain in the shins. However, it is very often caused by impact and so extra cushioning in shoes can greatly reduce the risk. If you already have decent shoes and it comes on then it is probably time to replace the shoes that once were good for you. Shin pain can sometimes also be as a result of over pronation so when buyin new shoes it is well worth having a gait analysis.
  • thanks for the advice, my shoes were bought after i had my gait analysed, after some prodding i have now realised the pain /discomfort is from the inside of my lower leg, under the calf muscle and down to the ankle  and i would describe the soreness as being more  to the side of the shin and its connective tissue there is no muscle - not the shin itself
  • Hello Neil Fryer and Livingboy.  I was just looking for some advise myself for shin splints, when i came across your posts.  I have the same problem.  I've been running for about 18mths now and never had any injuries until 3wks ago. 

    At first, it ached after a run, never during.  Feeling bruised when pressed. Now, on my latest run this week, the ache was with me throughout the duration of my run.  Its inside, lower mid calve and not the muscle.  And on that latest run, its actually moving round to the back of my calve area.

    All i do is - massage area, then apply ice.  Take paracetamol / aspirin to reduce the inflammation.  Reduce running (which is hard to do)

    Could it be that you have increased your mileage recently?  Or have been doing speedwork, like i have, which i think is my problem.

    But I am overdue for new shoes, so maybe thats the answer for me.

  • Hi wolfie, i have just replaced my shoes, but i found Ibuprofen and diclofenac excellent for reducing inflammation and the pain, i am going to reduce the amount of hills, which is difficult in derbyshire, i can still feel some soreness, when  i take a beak from medication, so i am having a rest for another week.

     As for the cause , i am unsure, maybe, over-use/ training? bad running style? new trainers that are corrective, too much hill work or a combination of all these?

     i am just annoyed with myself that it has happened when i feel i have made some progression.

  • It is such an annoying problem.
    I have a new pair of Brooks Beasts to replace my current Beasts.
    I have not run for 5 days but the pain is as bad as ever.
    I have taken pain killers - but they tend to mask the problem and to be honest i want to know what is going on.
    Not running is driving me nuts image
  • sounds familiar! had a game of golf last Sat , even that hurt, just walking....
  • I would love to get some medical experts to give my running a full MOT - eveything from my hair to my shoes - but I simply cannot afford the fees - its hard enough saving for decent shoes. Sorry to be a forum moany git - but i need to get it off my chest. My shins suck.
  • thats is how i feel about my running.... i know i run like a spaz... but what is the proper way to run?
  • Get yourself to a Sports therapist (such as myself!!!).. and get yor soleus stripped off the back of the tibia.. I guarantee youwill see reductions in pain and enhanced performance!

     I will warn you, this treatment is painful as the therapist will sink deep through the Gastroc (calf) muscles to get to the soleus...


  • What are you on about Stuart ness? - you mean, deep massage?

    I went for my long run today.  I did go slower than normal.  But I found, the shorter i did my strides, the better for my calf problem.

    After this afternoons long run, i massaged the area for 15mins (which did hurt at bit) , then applyed ice for 15mins, then took paracetamol. Now its 9pm and my leg feels fine!  Amazing! ... Is this going to last?  i ask myself.

    Today, i went out to buy a calf support to wear on my sessions.  Its only from the Poundshop, but i think it'll be ok and do the job.  Why pay out for fancy compression stuff when this should do the same thing.

    One important thing is - knowing the difference between ache and pain.  You should never run through pain, or face permanent damage.  Never mask pain through tablets (unless your professional and your career depended on it).  I just take painkillers after a run, just to reduce swelling.

    I keep you all posted on how I'm doing and hopefully we'll get to the bottom of this problem.

  • Update....  had my gait analysed again, and after looking at my instep , i was advised that the "support" from the asics was probably at the root of the problem.

     I have exchanged my asics GT 2140 for a nice neutral pair of Brooks with a pair of running socks as by way of an apology - Thanks Sutton Runner!image 

     Tried on a pair of Asics -no , mizuno - still felt like too much support and then finally the Brooks, had a nice easy 1 mile run last night, that nice and i will be moving up to 2 miles next week after two more 1 mile runs, hopefully i will be up to 5 miles by mid / late november.

    Stuart Ness what do you mean? that sounds like surgery to me ....

  • UPDATE.      Horray! my shin pain has gone completely..... (For now!??!).

    No fancy Sports Therapist involved.

    I cut down my running quite alot, which I think is the main answer.  When I did run, I wore my calf support which helped.  Doing the massage myself, deeply with my thumbs on my shin area helped aswell.  Also, I did more cross-training.  Sooo pleased I didn't get a VLM place this year, those extra training miles is not what I need.

    New year, new training plan, which includes more cross-training.  Got a HM in March, I expected PB, so I'll have to build up the miles again slowly.  Still wearing my old trainers which will be retired very, very soon.  I hope to keep the problem down, at the first sign of ache, I'll wear my calf support or just cut down.  Doing loads and loads of miles isn't necessary.

    I'll update again in March maybe, if i remember.

  • Hi. I have been reading this discussion and so pleased you are cured Wolfie!

    I am suffering from what I assume is shin splints, having just raised my mileage from 4-5 to 7-8miles at a time and am in training for my first HM in March. This is also after I have had my gait analysed and 'prescribed' a pair of Brookes Beast trainers. I am a bit of a flat footed slapper runner so my running technique is probably poor as well. Nightmare!

     I am going to try cross training and a calf support but am intrigued by your self massage. Can you give a fuller decsription of the technique you used? Might get the wife to help....!!

     Any advice gratefully received.

  • If it's any help I get the mildest of shin splint trouble on one leg only - inside front of leg, lower half. Mine is caused when my calf muscle on that leg gets tight.
  • Shin splints have been with me for about 5 years now. Every time I increase my pace or step up my miles they come back. With rest I have been able to manage them - done 8 marathons - but never really been able to put in the miles in training I would like to, due to them.

    My trainer of choice is Brooks and on three different occasions had my running looked at in specialist running shops and they have said I was fine!!!!

    Now in my training for the NY marathon I had major shin problems and went to see a physio. He had me running up and down his office barefoot and said I was turning in slightly when my foot hit the ground aspecially on my left (which was my worst side but I hadn't told him that) and he said my muscle was slightly more developed in a certain area as a result. He recommended that I seen a podiatrist and I have an appointment at my local health centre tomorrow to see one.

     I will report back on what is said.


  • Hi I am a physio and I know that shin pain is a real pain in the arse! Outside of gait and biomechanical analysis, I would suggest lots of ice, deep tissue massage (be really mean) calf stretching and also trying tape - two long strips pulled tight down the length of the front of the shin and then anchored with a piece around the ankle and at the top of the shin.  Hope this might help any of you sufferers!

  • I'm quite glad to stumble across this thread - I have been suffering from MTSS (shin splints but specifically in the inside of my shin, not much above my ankle bone) for the last 3+ months. I couldn't figure out what caused it as I hadn't really changed anything. I switched my shoes (after getting my gait analysed again) from asics 1130 to asics 2140, but this didn't really help. Months of physio/massage/acupuncture didn’t help either, but then I went for a hot stone massage and he discovered that a muscle in my back had gone into spasm and the end result was it pulled my right leg out by 1/2 inch. He said he thought this was the cause of my shin splint, worked on it, and since then (just over a week) I've ran twice (16k in total) and my shin is 95% better. I'm hoping that it is now on the mend - I'm way behind training for my first half marathon in March and want to start building up my running again.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on how to reduce calf pain - my Soleus muscle is really sore/tight after running, no matter how good my warm up and how much stretching I do. Interestingly, I was talking to my local running shop to see if a more cushioned shoe would help with the pain - they said it wouldn't but suggested compression socks - running in the "race" versions and using the recovery ones afterwards. Has anyone tried this for shin/calf pain?

  • Hiya...been reading this one with interest!  I have self diagnosed shin splints.......mid shin pain after running, a small lump which is tender to touch and will remain as long as I continue to run.  Ice eases the pain and have been massaging.  Decided not to run to see if the pain went........and having not run for 8 days now (ready to kill anyone within range) my leg feels absolutely fine, no pain whatsoever!!!  I have been doing spin classes to maintain fitness.  I was planning a test run today to see how it felt but the snow put paid to that one.  So, another couple of days rest and then I shall run but thinking of booking in with a physio next week.   Hoping that I can get back with running pronto though as I am booked in for the Brighton HM in February and the training plan has been put aside. image
  •  Hi DGOAB. Never heard of compression socks. Let us know if you try them and they help.

     I have decided to try get my shin pain sorted out by getting a proper massage on back and calf. Also getting a calf support.

    To keep up some sort of training for my March HM I am doing cross training and spinning and don't seem to have had a reaction. Snow permitting will be doing this for next 2 weeks with maybe a small run thrown in.

    I read somewhere that doing some ankle exercises helps. Writing the alphabet with your toes? Does this help?

     Will update if the massage and calf support works in next few days.

  • Hmm, went to see my NHS Podiatrist, explained my problem and he gave me 2 pair's of insoles, one for my work shoes and another for my trainers. Didn't look at my feet or get me to do anything.

    TBH I thought more would have happened.

    Anyway it will be a while before I get back up to the level of distance where it usually kicks in so I will need to stick to shorter faster runs to see if they improve things. 

  • I suffered with shin splints for months last year, it drove me crazy. I tried reducing my miles, physio, new shoes, compression socks, self-massage, anti-inflammatories, increased stretching, etc etc. Nothing worked until I stopped running altogether for about 6 weeks (sorry, that's probably not what you wanted to hear!) However, it was worth it because I've had no problems since and am now gradually building mileage. I'm not convinced that fancy shoes and inserts help at all, the shoes I run in now are fairly minimal (Invo8 - I run almosts exclusively trails) and I try to concentrate on form more than anything else. I sometimes wonder about Vibram Fivefingers and whether they would help for this sort of problem - not tried them, but I would do if the problem resurfaced.
  • goingnowherefast - i've heard that too, so i write the alphabeat/do ankle exercises too. but i don't think i've an issue with my ankles - was told they were flexible/fine.

    i'll give the compression socks a go then and let you know how i get on - buying both pairs from wiggle is about £40 so not too much.   i'm a keen cyclist - running is really secondary to my biking, but i had been dedicating more time to running than riding for the HM. i find road riding/mountain biking and spinning keeps me fit, but there's nothing really like running fitness as my hr is usually much higher running. i'm also a bit worried as my longest run to date has been 14k (some months ago) at this rate i will be running my first ever 10miler and HM in the one go.

    on the compression front, there's meant to be a calf guard that works - but when i was talking to a few people about them, they reckoned i should go for the socks in case i ended up with achillies problems by treating my calf with the guard and leaving the rest of the achillies/foot alone. makes sense i suppose.

    here's the link to what i was considering    (click on socks and calf guards to read what they say)
  • I have only been back running for the last 9 months from along time off. And like many i just jumped in and started pounding the roads. And in that time like most of you, have had the Shin Splint/ Calf pains. So i went out and bought some what i thought were tidy trainers and some cushioned insoles. Didn't work. So i started wearing expensive running socks. Didn't work. As like Lizmint i had to stop running for approx 6 weeks with severe calf pain in my right leg. Went to see a Phsyio payed £35 for 10 minutes and an A4 sheet of paper showing some stretches. In the 6 weeks that i couldn't run i used a cross trainer after alot of research. I am now back running but i still use the cross trainer at least twice a week, to reduce the impact on my legs/ joints. Try swimming

    What Worked for me: Massage Tiger Balm into affected areas. Reducing the amount of road running by using the cross trainer or running on grass. Slowly building your road mileage back up. Don't over do it. Being assessed for  New Trainers. Not using cushioned insoles or padded socks. As this didn't help with the stability when your foot strikes the floor. Don't over stride. Reducing your heel strike. Strenghten your Calf muscles(calf raises)Also stretching/strenghtening the shin muscles. By kneeling on the floor with your toes pointing away from you and sitting on your heels. (gently). And yes take some Ibufren. And some good advise try some compression tights or sockets. Good luck. But you must have patients. Take it slow.

  • Suffered from shin splints for 6 years or so. Other than having the correct pair of shoes and running only on grass the main thing I've found to help in strengthening exercises for the shin muscles. Either walk on your heels for as long as you can each day or lean with your back against a wall and lift your toes up so your resting on your heels/ back then hold for as long as possible. Can't guarantee you'll get rid of them for good but this is how I manage the problem.
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