How long does it take?


Can i ask for those who have suffered shin splint injuries how long it takes to heal and get back to running?

I've been off running for approximately 5 weeks and surprisingly i've flabbed out in the areas i felt toned from running in just this amount of time image It gets me down and no replacement training such as the cross trainer / rower is helping me keep toned.

 So, i'd like to get back to running. I can feel slight pain in the ankle and lower leg area but it's nowhere as near as it was at the start of the injury. Just wondering if i get back to running i may make things worse image

Advice appreciated image


  • kaffeegkaffeeg ✭✭✭

    i'm just back from shin splints. 

    It does sound like it's taking some time to heal up.......I had two weeks off running - then ran again - then they came back as I over did the training (training for a marathon and wanted to 'catch up' what i had missed). Stopped running (on land) again for two weeks and started back really really easy.  Just running once a week for two weeks, now moving it up to twice a week for two weeks, etc......

    HOwever, during that time I have been aqua jogging.  It's helped me immensely.  I've remained strong in my legs, i have developed speed (doing threshold training in the pool), i think I am stronger (with all the cross training too).

    I started back on running on the treadmill. And today did my first run on concrete (all flat - no hills).  And I was amazed at how fast I was -the fastest I have ever run in my life and I wasn't even trying that hard! advice would be: if you still have a little pain - only you know if you can run or not.  If it is bearable you could give it a try, although it might be more sensible to wait another week?

    When coming back to running - take it easy. No hills, Softest surface possible (i.e. grass, if not then treadmilll - last choice concrete).

    Go slow!  (I noticed at first when I speeded up it would twinge - now it's fine).

    Ice after every excerise.

    And do Aqua jogging.  I can not recommend it highly enough.  It feels weird and that you aren't really training but it must have done the trick for me - lost the most weight ever by doing all this!

    Good luck!

  • Hi,

     Not trying to sound weird but I found that self massage really helped. While you're in the shower after a run, soap the affected area (inner or outer of shin) and use firm pressure with your thumb up and down the leg between the bone and muscle

    I suffered with posterior shin splints for nearly 18 months and I'm convinced this helped.

  • If its any help...

    The idea that muscle-turns-to-fat is a myth. Muscle and fat are two different parts of the body with different components. One cannot simply become another in the very same way a cat cannot morph into a dog through giving it the wrong food. If you stop using your muscles, water which once used to fill the muscles does not and the muscles can appear loser and in some cases look a bit saggy. Some in time can end up losing these muscles and saggyness altogether but actually this means much more work when they do take up the exercise again. Fat is a different organ and can and does shrink in size when losing weight, there are different theories on weather or not the cells ever fully vanish or if they just become very small and will refill if you eat more calories then you burn but thats a separate issue. Just don't eat more then your body requires to live (including moving around) and you shouldn't have too much to worry about.

    In terms of exercise and running not being an option, swimming is a good option as it uses all your body and is in most cases the least harmful in comparison to impact borne exercises such as running.

    Cycling can be a good option but be careful of your knees! Cross trainer machines at the gym can also be good- there are many different types of exercise techniques you can try on these machines, HIIT for example is far easier on a cross trainer then on a treadmill. Get advice as to how to use machines and keep an eye on your posture as incorrect posture can lead to other injuries and other injuries are the last thing you need! When you put your body under pressure, posture is often the first thing to go.

    In terms of how long to rest for, this really varies person to person. It depends on your age, your heatlh, your stress levels, nurtition levels...even genes, its not so easy to give a hard and fast rule. What you can do to help is to keep your nutrition optimal- eat decent quality proteins (hard if your a veggie: Google for "complete and incomplete proteins" for more information on that). It may also mean you need to eat slightly more then your body needs otherwise as your trying to build and repair damaged tissue. Rest weel (sleep well, don't over-exercise) and bear in mind once your older then about 30 your rate of recovery will slow down as your body is in natural decline. Once you hit the menopause its even slower.

    I'd say a rough rule of thumb is to rest for at least 6 weeks then start back slowly. The first second you feel pain stop and repeat the process, the longer you run with pain the longer you will need to wait for recovery, shinsplints are not nice!

    Massage can and does help because a very important part of recovery is the circulation of the area. Sports massage in the area and around the area (the fleshy calf muscle for example) will all help but careful to not over do it as your body will need time to heal rather then just be palpated. Stretching the calf and achillies can also help after exercise and after massage.

    RICER: Rest Ice Compression and Elevation followed by Rehabilitation generally works for most things and shin splints are included in that.

  • Sorry for late responses as i've been away but just wanted to say many thanks for the advice. I've gained 5 pounds so i'm going to start the treaadmill easy run tomorrow and see how it goes image
  • Just bare in mind what I said: a lot of it could easily be water retention and its unlikely you've gained it all as body fat, if your worried about weight gain then calories are really going to make more of a difference then exercise. Exercise only accounts for 20% of weight loss, 60% is through what you eat, the rest being about age, hormone levels, genetics and what sex you are. Please don't cause yourself further injuries, if something hurts and you know its shin splints you really need to rest or it will get worse until you have no option but to rest and then it will be for a much longer period of time, you would likely find its much more likely you'd get a recurrant injury and resting for a few weeks every week of running as a result. Not something you want- the choice is yours but if you really are that concerned about any weight gain try to think about things in the longer term rather then whats going on in the past few weeks.
  • Thanks Jenn - very apt advice! I was watching the calories all day until dinner time - then bang...piled em on image Will be good tomorrow image
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