Shin splints

I've just returned to running after a lapse of about 3 years. Before I stopped I was constantly dogged by shin splints I changed my running shoes a few times but either they were the wrong ones or theres something else I'm doing wrong. Has any one got any advice


  • OK, so I keep reading about shin splints, but I've no idea what they are, though they sound quite painful. Can anyone enlighten me???
  • If you've had them, you'd know! It feels like knives stuck into your shins at every step. Running and walking are agony, though paradoxically I find it hurts slightly less to run with shin splints (though I suppose it may end up doing you more damage), so at least you can try to get home quickly.

    I've only ever had shin splints after (foolishly) doing a long run (8 miles is long for me) having been off for a significant amount of time (i.e. months).
  • As far as getting rid of them goes - try waiting till they heal (i.e. stop hurting), then slowly build back into running. Start with short runs, so you don't get to the point at which the shin splints start, then build up by a half mile or so each session. Note that this isn't professional advice, I'm just recounting what worked for me. (:
  • I used to suffer from painful shin cramps when I tried to run, until someone suggested sitting on a table and hanging a weight (a bucket with something in it will do, I suggest you avoid water and go for something dry instead!), from my feet and pulling up with my toes. It worked for me, but I've no idea if this is the same condition you've been talking about. In my case it also seemed to be related to wearing heels for most of the day at work.
  • That relates to my experience, or at least that of a friend (I don't wear high heels - or at least I'm not going to admit to it!!). From memory it's something to do with keeping the muscles at the back of the leg in a shortened position for long periods. I guess raising the bucket (as well as strengthening the muscles at the front of the leg) would also stretch these?

    Do a web search for "Dr Pribut" - this has lots of advice on running injuries, including shin splints, although I think it also calls it enterior compartment syndrome or something.

    Cheers, Iain
  • On another running forum I saw the oft-repeated advice to take up toe tapping to cure shin splints - while sitting down (perhaps at work) twenty taps to the left, twenty to the right, twenty straight ahead. Repeat often. It's claimed to be a complete cure. Haven't needed to try it myself.

  • There is loads I could write about shin splints, but in this case, I'll point you at a couple of web links...

    Click Here for RW article

    Click Here for article

    As these articles explain, the two main things you can do to prevent shin splints are (a) build up your mileages and intensities very gradually and (b) avoid running on hard surfaces as much as possible.

    You might be interested to know that I had shin splints for a while and they were finally sorted out by a visit to a podiatrist and some orthotics. Expensive, but very effective in my experience.

    Hope this helps.

  • I had never had problems with my shins until January this year after doing some sprints on astroturf in astro trainers at hockey training.

    The pain was weird - like a really sharp kinife along the inside of my shinbone and then any side to side to movement felt like my inner front calf muscles were twisting away from the bone - horrible.

    I used to run for 10 -15 minutes before training but after this it was too painful so stopped running. Over the summer i didnt do any activity and it seemed to ease up - but now it flares up from time to time when i begin to run. Fortunately fast walking and playing hockey is ok but my shin does burn a bit sometimes
  • I had BIG problems with shin splints before this years GNR.

    I was forced to take 4 weeks off running before the GNR, as I just couldn't run anymore, my legs were solid and agony. I really did not want to do this though (which is why I had made it so bad). Rest is all well and good, unless it is getting in the way of a goal you have set yourself.

    I was as miserable as sin during this period. I did cross training though - cycling and concept 2 rower at the gym.

    I also iced the lower legs (10 mins each) every day. I also massaged them myself, moving the muscles as much as I good and finding some seriously tender spots.

    Over the 4 weeks of self-massage I got to know what my legs felt like pretty well and I could feel muscular swelling disappear (which I hadn't realised was there before) and the muscles soften and become non tender.

    I then ran the GNR and beat my target by 7 minutes (although I was still not exactly in danger of beating anyone!!!).

    I had a 2 week holiday after - sunning myself in the Bahamas, at someone else's expense. Life's hard!!

    I have just started running again and at the moment my legs seem absolutely fine. In fact I can't remember them feeling as good as they do now.

    What all this has taught me is that if the same thing happens again, I will take notice earlier, rather than run myself into the ground as I had on this occasion. I have also really learnt (not just read!) that a rest from running and cross training really does help and does not slow you down after a few weeks - at least at my snail like pace.
  • Hello

    I am the Shin Splits Princess! I had to pull out of the FLM 2001 because of them (and my finals) and nearly again this year. However, have received extensive physio because I have imbalanced hips and this has caused my feet to over pronate (one more seriously than the other) and has encouraged the shin splints. I am nearly fixed now and have started getting the pains back! (Ahhhhh!) However, I had been signed off running for over 8 weeks and I know that once my body has re-adjusted, the splinty problems will go away. I find a sports massage helps these as well because the muscle can be "glued" back to the bone with careful pressure. Also, Radcliffe socks are great for compression and keeping that area warm.

    Good luck with preventing them and if they persist see a physio.

    Gem x
  • Write the alphabet in the air with your feet. Laugh all you like, but having had the damn things on and off for months I did that sitting on the couch watching telly & they miraculously disappeared.

  • shin splints can be easy to cure!
  • Want to know....?????
  • I used to work in a podiatry department and was also an exercise physiology lecturer.
    Shin splints are more often than not, the result of flat feet! (Over pronating) Sometimes people spend ages trying to find the correct shoes to cure it. When all you need to do is pop along to a good chiropodist,preferably one with an understaning of sports and he should be able to supply and in-shoe orthotic. You will pay £40 for the initial assessment and then £40 for the in-shoe devices (which I used to design) which are now available off-the-peg. They provide cushioning and alter the angle of heel strike and the amount of pronation - movement of the foot into a flattened position. Once you have the devices you need to rest from running and do non-impact work for 2-3weeks. During which time you gradually increase the amount of hours a day you wear the orthotics in your shoes. Then you SENSIBLY increase your mileage and HEY PRESTO - no more shin splints! Trust me and try it! What have you got to lose????
  • Click on and there's a good amount of info for those interested in what shin spints are about.
  • Excellent site!!! Many thanks Ed!
  • Hi

    I saw a sports masseur and asked about my sore shins. I was put off running because of them.

    She suggested alternating my running between grass and road, starting off mainly on grass and slowly building up to more road. In addition, she also suggested that after a run, I do my normal stretches (especially the calves) then elevate my legs and put ice on my shins.

    It really helped as a lot of the pain is the inflamation and the ice reduces it.

    I also use a half-insole for over pronation and I no longer suffer.

  • shin splints is where the lining of the muscle at the front of your lower leg splits ( i forget then name and i should know it as i am a sport student) the muscl then attaches itself to the bone. This can be very painful and most doactors say there is no cure but sports scientists say that if u massage ice into the affected area to lessen the swellin and then kneel on the floor with your bum on your heels. it stretches the muscle and encourages it to detatch from the bone and then the healing of the lining can begin.
  • Strengthen your ankles - bascially they are not strong enough to take the impact and the rolling movement of running. Eventually they will go away. Don't run until the pain's gone - it WILL come back, and probably just get worse. Take it gently and if you get an ache - STOP.

    Shut your eyes and stand on one leg, if you can't count to 20 without falling over, your ankles are too week. Practice this to start with and then with a wobble board (both feet at first) to strengthen them. Worked a treat for me and I had a hell year with them - couldn't even walk at one point!

    Also, I've naturally moved into midfoot landing with a bent leg not heel striking which helps with the impact as its nowhere near as harsh.
  • I had shinsplints last november december after comming back to running after 6 months lay off.Unfortunatley the shoes i was using weren't really running shoes,just cheap trainers.So that coupled with doing too much to soon on pavements resulted in my shinsplints.
    I was so fed up of them not going away that i stopped running altogether and concentrated on cycling for 3 or 4 months.Now i have come back to running and just starting off gradually with a decent pair of running shoes and touch wood i feel great and no shinsplints any more.I will now gradually carry on increasing my training and should hopefully now get more off road running in too.
  • Hi Everyone

    Just noticed this thread. Not sure if i have shin splints but the pain i am feeling is like constant cramp in my left shin like a dull ache and the shin itself feels bruised and abit swollen its not too painful just more annoying! Could this be the development of them?. I have only just come back into running since being off for months and if im honest done too much straight away.

    Any help and advice? i would be very gratefull

    C x
  • Yep, that sounds like shin splints, I get them too, I shall try the advice posted here, sounds good. Its also good to hear that some people have managed to sort of cure them.
  • i knew i had flat. And started running as you probley guessed i started getting at lot of pain in my shins so i bought a decent pair of running shoes. Still i was getting a lot of pain so did some research into flat feet and found that orthotic inserts would help me. I have had them for just over a week now. And had a little run yeasterday less than a mile, my shins dont hurt at all i dont get that horrible tight feeling i did before even walking at a pace feels better
    my advice would be if you think you have shin splints or flat feet
    check this site out
  • Hi, i don't know if anyone can help me
    ive just spent a good while reading the majority of the posts on this thread and this tuesday, 5 days away ive got a football scholarship trial, and about a week ago i started to get pains down the bone of my shins, they pain isn't ridiculous or anything, but i just want to know if i would behable to play in this game ?

    Any help would be great thank you
  • Hi Jamie,
    it will probably hurt but i dont think you will do any damage by playing. (dont quote me on this though as Im not a medical person)

    Follow the advice on the thread and take a visit to a physio to get it checked out to get a proper diagnosis. They will also be able to give you advice on sorting out the problem.

    Hope it goes well.
  • thanks alot himpy
  • No worries, good luck for tomorrow :-)
  • Hi,

    I suffered from shin splints after starting running after no serious sustained exercising for several years.

    I found that my shoes were not adequate and a new pair was purchased with professional help from a running shop.

    More importantly, I found that I was running to quick at the outset of each run and the impact was too much for my shins.

    By running at an initial slower pace for first 15 mins I was fine afterwards

  • That is very true, I went out for a 3 mile fast run last Thursday and boy did I pay for it the next day. The pain is only just starting to go. It really does pay to slow down a bit to keep the dreaded splints away.
  • Help!
    I've been running on an off for the last 6/7 years and I'm training for the Great North Run (will be my second) and been doing OK but over the last few days I've been plagued by what I think are shin splints. Pain on the outside edge of my shins particularly right leg.

    So - decided my shoes were worn out and bought a new pair. No dice. Pain even worse. The pain goes afterwards (about 5 mins later).

    Here are the facts:

    I'm fat (call it overweight, call it big but let's call a spade a spade) nay, obese. I am an experienced runner (albeit at snail's pace). I have flat feet (wearing nike equalon at the moment). I have not upped my mileage. And I'm miffed about this.

    Could it be shin splints? Compartment syndrome?

    Anyone who could shed light on this?

    Many ta's.
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