lower leg pain non specific...can anyone help?

Hi everyone hoping there's a sports injury expert on here who might be able to ease my worries!

I'm really enjoying my running and although I'm overweight I'm slowly improving on times and distances. At the moment I'm running about 12 miles a week and hoping to bring that up to around 20 a week by the summer.

I'm currently wearing Asics nimbus 14s and love them. I've seen a podiatrist who says I have the most "mechanically perfect" pair of feet she's seen in years.

And yet I think I have shin splints. I have really tight calves, despite plenty of stretching, anyway and now I'm getting pain (particularly on my left leg) on the inside of my shin bone that's almost an itchy pain. I think there's a slight lump/swelling on there too, comparing it to my other leg. On my left leg too I also have a twinging pain behind my knee as it connects to my hamstring. It's all very uncomfortable and my leg gets stiff if I sit for too long.

Is this a shin splint, or something else? I've trawled the web for some indications but can't seem to find anything which matches the calves, the pain along the inside of the shin and the back of the knee pain.

Please help!!


  • Do all the usual icing, ibuprofen, etc but the one thing that usually works for me is a good, hard deep tissue massage. Hurts like hell but really loosens up the calves which in turn benefits the inner shins
  • Massaging the UNDERSIDE of your foot also, for some reason, is incredibly helpful.  Get a tennis ball or similar and roll it under your foot for a minute or so.  You'll feel tender places - try and put gentle pressure on them with the ball until they ease up. 

  • Tell me abit more about your injury, Im just new to running this year but I am a podiatrist as well so I can try and help.  Do you wear orthoses/insoles at the moment?  As you are wearing a neutral shoe or do you have  high arched feet?

  • Yeah I have a friend who is a sports therapist who has EVIL hands, so I might see if she can help. Angela I don't wear orthoses, as I say I have asics nimbus 14 which have loads of bounce in the heel (I have a heavy heel strike), and have normal arches, according to the podiatrist I saw a few months back. She was very jealous of my feet as she overpronated badly! image

    I have a small blister on the inner part of the arch (just below the ball) of my left foot which I can't get rid of. But I just put that down to creases in my socks! 

  • It sounds like you may have a limb length discrepency but its had to say 100% without an assessment.  What type of surfaces do you run on? try and alter your routes as the pavements have a slght camber and that may have made an artifical limb length.  Have you had a full biomechanical assessment?  If you have not let me know where in the country you are and I can try and get you some contacts.  re your blisters buy some white non stretch zinc oxide tape,  a couple of pound  from the chemist and put a large stripe over the blister area with out any creases usualy best to do this as soon as you feel a hot spot developing but if the blister has formed it should still help, as it sounds like your shoes are rubbing so maybe slightly over pronating.  This is probably not want you want to hear but you should stop running if there is pain as you may make it worse, rest, ice, stretch etc, let me know how you get on.

  • Hi Clare,

    How much stretching is "plenty of stretching"?   If you have the 'overuse' symptoms you describe you should try stretching your calves 4 ways, 3 - 4 times per day 1 minute each time - 4 calf stretches: straight knee, bent knee, toe flexors (bent knee stretch with toes bent up against a step/wall and inside calf stretch (bent knee with inside of foot dropped off edge of step (outside of foot on ledge)).   You might feel one stretch more than another so hold that longer.

    Tweak your running style if you have a heavy heel strike (you CAN change your running gait pattern relatively easily albeit slowly) Try any / all of these cues -

    * shortening your stride a little so your foot lands more underneath you when running. 

    *treading more softly on the ground - imagine the crown of your head is being pulled up and along slightly forwards - "think springy not sticky ground". 

    *On each step imagine the impact force pushing you forward (rolling off the toes) and not down into the ground.  

    *Above all RELAX your feet!

    I'd wait until your symptoms have reduced before trying the above or any running -  the first time you run should only be for 5 mins and only if pain free - if no symptoms then gradually increase the time you run the next day/session.  In the mean time you should be doing ACTIVE rest - swimming or cycling are both great for cardio and working the calf muscles without the impact which is probably causing the pain.  Massaging the sole of foot with ball is working/stretching the lower attachments of the muscles in your calf that maybe causing your problem.  Having deep tissue massage is a good way to break down soft tissue adhesions in tired legs.  Painful on shins though ;-o !!    little and often is probably best!

    Tape/blister plasters on the skin and vasoline on the outside of socks over area that rubs.

    Hope that helps!

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