Keep on running with shin splints

Hello, i will after 1,5 years of fighting and trying everything to fix my shins ignore the pain and just keep on running with painkillers (playing soccer). From what my doctor said, it's not very likely that i will get stress fractures from this.


Has anyone else done this? How did it work out for you?

Other than that i'll update this thread after some months.




  • Hi it doesn't sound ideal but it might be possible if you gradually increase your running or soccer.

    What have you tried for your shin splints? Maybe I can help - I'm a physio...

  • Tom in your opinion how quickly can shin splints come on? I have all the symptoms, but I've only been back at running about four weeks after an injury lay off. I'm doing around 3 sessions a week run-walking and it seems absurd that this could be too much. I was non-weight bearing for quite a while on the side that's giving me problems, so could it be that my calf/shin just needs to strengthen? Unsure whether rest is in order or I actually need to push on and strengthen my leg.

    Sorry for hijack johanes!


  • Hi Weeble,

    Shin pain can come on quite quickly, especially if you've been non weight bearing for a while. The leg will need time to adapt again to impact.

    It's a balance - pushing on through pain is not likely to help but neither will prolonged rest. Regular, small amounts of activity are often best then gradually increase. Maybe mix in treadmill or grass running to reduce impact a little.

    Often stretching and strengthening the calf helps too.
  • Thanks v. much Tom. Are there any specific exercises you'd recommend for strengthening the calf?

  • Yep.

    Single leg calf raises are good

    Video here (although be warned it contains a half naked dude!)

    I would do as many as you can comfortably do, then take a rest for 2 minutes and repeat. Aim to build up to 3 sets of around 30 reps.

    Also things like walking on tip toes, sideways walking on tip toes and jogging on the spot (also on tip toes!) will help work the calf.

    Does that all make some sense?
  • Yep perfectly, thank you. Rather pleased that at least I don't need to hold on to anything to do the calf raises. All that tip toes work... and to think I thought not wearing high heels would be good for me!

  • Tom, if i increase the length of my runs gradually and slowly by 1 km at a time (once per week) and still get a little sore, is that usual or should i just stop? Do you know how big the risk of stress fractures are if you keep on running with pain?

    Edit: and what happens if you keep on running with the pain?

  • Johannes, it all depends on a lot of things I'm afraid.

    Building distance depends how much you are already doing and what pain you have. If you're already running 10km or more, adding 1km once per week might be ok if it isn't painful. If you're only running 2-3km adding 1km might be too much, especially if you're getting pain. I find the best way to return after long term injury is to start by setting a baseline - find how far you can run at a slow comfortable pace without pain. Make note of distance and time. This is your baseline, I often get people to start by running at 10% below this for a week or 2 then gradually build up by around 10% per week. E.g. If your baseline is 1km start at 900m then 990 next week 1090 the next and so on. It will take time to reach your target but it avoids constant setbacks. After a few weeks you can also review your baseline and maybe make bigger gains in distance.

    Hope this all makes sense, more info on my site about it here;

    In terms of risk of stress fracture that depends on you - do you have any history of stress fracture? Have you had an X-ray or MRI of your shin?

    The shin is a very complex area - there are around 30 potential diagnoses of shin pain and shin splints is often misdiagnosed. I started writing a piece on shin pain and ended up having to write a 3 parter as it was so complicated! Here is the first part which should be helpful;

    Hope that's useful

  • I don't have any history of stress fractures, my doc (doctor of the swedish national athletics team) said that it was not very likely for me to develop stress fractures even if i continue running.

    I don't have the motivation to start slowly once again, but if i am able to play with pain and not getting stress fractures, that would be perfect.

  • Btw, i can run 1 km until i get pain.

  • Try crossfit has started to sort my shin splints out and is great for all round injury prevention

  • thanks for the links to the piece you wrote and the links within it Tom.

    I've just started with shin pain a couple of weeks ago 3 weeks out from Chester marathon and the things you have written about seem to back up what my physio has told me.

    He has diagnosed tibial stress reaction rather than stress fracture as the pain is a little spread over the length of the bone rather than very localised although he acknowledges it is very hard to be specific with problems like this.

    The only thing he has suggested in terms of prevention that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere is taking a calcium/vit d supplement which I've now started on. Do you have any thoughts on that Tom? I don;t suppose it can hurt (pardon the pun)!!

    The only thing I'm confused about is whether continuing to run with mtsr leads to a stress fracture??

  • Did a short individual soccer practice yesterday, got some pain whilst doing it but wasn't so bad a few hours after, i will do my second practice tomorrow (less intense practice).

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