Shins hurting a lot - total beginner

Hi, I want to follow the couch to 10k programme and I have bought a phone app to help me do that. I started out by walking and all was well. As soon as I start to run though the front of both my shins is in real pain. I've only done two run-walks and the same thing has happened both times image Can anyone tell me what is going on? Not sure if this is related. I used to run about an hour a day on a treadmill 10 years ago. I developed a squishy lump on the front of my right side lower leg just to the right of centre. It does not hurt and it has been there for ages. I seem to remember having the shin problem then too and avoiding it by taking very small steps when running. This is not really practical though so I want to fix my problem properly. Hope someone can help. Amir


  • So to clarify, you had not run at all and the first time you ran, you immediately had shin pain?  Or did it come on later in the run/walk session?  What are the run/walk intervals that you are following on the program right now?

  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭
    Hi Susan, they came on relatively early in the session but not right at the beginning. My first session was a 5 min warmup walk followed by 6 reps if 1 min run + 1.5 min walk and finally a 5 min cool down walk.
  • I've had this problem for ages too.  I find that a proper warm-up before every run reduces it, but it still flares up from time to time.  Probably something wrong with my gait or running style though. 

  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭

    Finding that landing midfoot and rolling ankle back on landing and forward when lifting off is reducing the pain to the point where it has almost gone!

  • Hi Amir - you have a very classic running injury called Shin Splints, or to use its technical name - Medial Tibia Stress Syndrome (MTSS).

    Your body is telling you that it can't deal with the stress of your running efforts yet and this means you have to make a more gradual approach to starting running by strengthening your lower leg muscles (you can search up Dorsiflexor exercises).

    Such exercises increase your resistance to running stress. The other side of the equation is to reduce the source of stress. Through pain, your body is limiting how much you run. But after rest and recovery, you will want to start exercising again (adding new stress). Make sure your running shoes are in good condition, that they are appropriate for someone with your running style (get a gait analysis in a specialist running shoe shop - zero cost!), run on softer ground, avoid non-level or cambered surfaces which induce a degree of ankle rotation as you run, putting further stress on the dorsiflexors.

    Once your muscles and tendons begin to harden, your body will be able to take much more stress than now (back like when you were running ten years ago). The trick is, to build up slowly and if you run into pain, then this is a clear signal you are going too quick. Good luck. TD.

  • Amir on the run wrote (see)

    Finding that landing midfoot and rolling ankle back on landing and forward when lifting off is reducing the pain to the point where it has almost gone!

    Adopting an un-natural (for you) gait is just transfering stress to a slightly different part of your shin which is not yet injured. It probably will be soon enough. Your primary goal should be dorsiflexor exercises. It is a pre-requisite before you can run properly and many athletes have to maintain these exercises as injury prevention techniques for their whole running career.

  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭

    Dicky - great advice! I have a gait analysis tomorrow hopefully and I will buy proper training shoes then. I am following the couch to 10k which gives lots of rest periods as it is only 3 times a week and there are walk periods in between the run periods. Problem is I am finding it a bit frustrating only being able to go out 3 times a week - would prefer more. However, I will be patient, build up my legs, and try to stay injury free that way. I will check out some dorsiflexor exercises and start to do them. Thanks for that tip.


  • Hi, I suffered with Shin Splints last year after over-training for the Windsor Half.  It took about 6 weeks for the pain and swelling to go.  I have invested in knee-length compression socks, and spend more time stretching before runs than previously.  Fingers-crossed it has been 6 months without the symptons returning.

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