Lower leg pain stopping me running

I have had occassional shin splints in the past but always run through it, however, in May I signed up for my first marathon (Kielder) and started training, I have had constant pain in shins, left side of left calf and knees. I more or less lived on ibuprofen and paracetemol and continued to train. The pain went off around 10k mark but it altered how I walked and felt like I had little spring in my step or speed when running, the pain was terrible on steep declines but uphill went ok. I completed the marathon on 7th October and have been unable to run since. All research suggests RICE, I have to admit to not using ice, but have learnt for future reference. My question is..How long should I stop running for ? I am gutted that after gaining such a level of fitness it will merely drop off with resting. Any advice would be greatfully recieved



  • Hate to say it but it sounds like its impact borne, meaning it could be a problem like a stress fracture (not saying it is, just that the symptoms ring a bell...). If it is you need to pay off running and reduce the impact from walking so wearing things like trainers as oppose to heavy shoes without anything reducing the impact.


    You don't have to give up your fitness levels. You just have to change the way you go about exercising. Things like cycling, swimming, even rowing can be good and if you are part of a gym things like the cross trainer and weight machines can help. Basicly anything which keeps both feet on the floor/on a platform without ever coming fully off the platform is good. Short circuits and things like HIIT (High Impact Interval Training) should be more then enough to keep your fitness cardio levels up.


    Do go and visit your doctor though as they can run scans to see if it is a stress fracture. If nothing appears on an x-ray and there is still pain, go back. Stress fractures cannot be spotted on an x-ray for many people as the fracture is a hairline one and often more intensive scans need to be done. It can take a while though and the treatment will be the same if you have the scan or not: rest, eat lots of calcium rich foods, protein rich foods, lots of fresh vegetables and build up the muscles in your leg doing non impact things -and don't go back to running unless you have no pain. That is ZERO pain, not pain which wears off after 15 minutes or 10K or whatever, no pain means no pain at all, not some painimage 

  • Jenn thankyou so much for this response, everything you say makes a lot of sense and its re-assuring to hear you describe it so well, good advice re keeping up fitness and cardio levels, thanks for that. Its good that you have mentioned waiting for the pain to completely disappear before running again, I think we are sometimes willing martyrs to pain and the temptation to run through it is at best foolish. Many thanks, you have been most helpful :-0


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