Shin Splints driving me crazy!

Well over a year ago i began getting shin pain. I know it was completely my fault, I'd just started running, went straight into running half hours at a good pace with little to no research into gradually upping my mileage.

Ran through the pain quite a few times making the situation worse and eventually ended up 'googling' my situation to find i had shinsplints. So as much of the internet suggested, gave up the running, iced at took ibuprofen. 

Cutting a massive story short, this didn't work so ended up at a sports therapist who gave me ultrasound and tens machine at £27 a turn....months later i couldnt afford to keep going and didnt feel it was getting any better.

Had gait analysis and bought £120 trainers.

No better

Been to doctors who gave me strong anti-inflamatories. 

No better

I teach, so this summer holiday i have iced twice a day and emptied boots of nurophen! thought i was getting somewhere this week but woke up this morning and the right leg especially is as bad as its ever been!!!

Aside from the annoyance of not being able to run which i miss so much! I now cant do anything! even a bit of cycling at the gym flares it up.

Any suggestions?




  • What did your gait analysis say ? Presumably the expensive new shoes were designed to compnsate for this.

  • That i was over pronating. At first i felt this had made a major difference but 3-4 runs on and they were back! image never known somthing takes so long to heal! My brother broke his ankle and was up and about in less time! image

  • Caveat: I am just some guy posting on a web forum, double check everythng I say.

    This video clip has an analysis of an overpronator:

    Apart from the dotted line showing the angle of the lower leg, it is obvious that the runner is pointing his toes outwards allowing him to roll over towards his arches.

    Question 2

    Do you run and/or walk with your feet pointing forwards or is there a divergent angle ? Does your knee pass over your toes or tend to move inwards ?

    If you perform a basic squat with or without weights, do your knees tend to move inwards ?

    Is it easy for you to perform a basic lunge and keep your knee over your toes ? or does this require extra effort/concentration ?

  • Try cutting back on the vitamin I.  There is reputable evidence that it slows down healing If you tale it continuosly. 

  • Your therpay was cheap at only £27 I was paying £55 a shot for similar lack of results.

  • Flob:

    Well, no I can't be sure.

    The OP might be back to tell us. Presumably the doctor and physio had a pretty good guess, but it is possible that if you go to such folk and say "I think I've got shin splints", they go ahead and treat it as such.

    My original problem was definitely in my shins, there was a definite painful area down there, sensitive to touch and twisting. When I tried to avoid treadmill agony by using the cycling machines, it flared again because I was pulling up on the strap thing that they put on the pedals. I (probably mistakenly) believed that I might be heading for a stress fracture, so I knocked off running for about a month.

    While I was letting it heal, I put in some sessions of calf raises, knee extensions and free weight squats, concentrating on form.

    When I was able to run again on the teadmill, I went at it gently. When I started running outside, the pains came back, so I took a look at what I was doing and started looking on here. I got rid of my massive clunking, treadmiller's forward heelstrike and reduced my stride so it looked like someone had tied my shoelaces together. I made it my goal to run with my lower legs as relaxed as possible without actually falling over and to keep my knees where they belonged. to that end, I determined to stop before I got fatigued muscles.

    I wonder how many new runners would be diagnosed as overpronators in a standard gait analysis. It's an easy call to make and simple for a shopkeeper to stick a wedge under somone's arch when what they might need is a couple of months of easy running to strengthen muscles that haven't been used in that way before.

    Surrey Runner:

    Yes, I've been reading that anti inflammatories may conflict with healing. I have seen it said that analgaesia rather than anti inflammatories are the way to go.

  • I havent ran in months. But wen i do my toes point forward, my knees if anything go slightly out when squating and my i can keep my knee over my foot when lungeing.

    what concerns me is that ive not run for so long and it still hasnt gone away. The pain has eased but im sure if i went for a light jog this morning it would be back!

    def shin pain, i can pin point exactly where it is. Have ditched the ibroprohen as feel a stomach ulser would add to my troubles 

    bucket list: when u focused on your form in the month off, for how long each day did u do the calf raises etc? 

  • Have you tried rolling?  Not sure if it helps but it feels good.

  • Foam roller? No ive kinda been a trying not to push it too much as its quite painful. The weird thing is (which could be complete conciedence) just when i think ive got rid of the pain in one leg, the other one starts and then that will die down just in time for the other one to start up again! 

    Whats the idea with foam rollers? Just massage? 

  • Essentially yes it massages it.  I have started using it on my calves and shins.  Will let you know if it helps.

  • I had lower leg injuries continually for 4 years!you name it, i had it! Shin splints was one of my main problems also,and i,like you noir tried everything including expensive physio.The thing that stopped all my problems,almost overnight,was a visit to a REPUTABLE podiatrist.He sorted me out with custom orthotics which sorted out my running gait(incidentally,no running shoes whatever the cost will do the same job-FACT).Along with a sensisble running schedule,I have been running now for the last 5 years now with no lower leg problems!Good luck.Paul.

  • I did a about three to four sessions a week because I had to do something. Maybe three to five sets of 15 down to 8. I use a volume to intensity ramped weight programme and worked it into that.

    I found that when I'd been getting tired during a run, I got sloppy and let my knees roll inwards and rolled over my arches. When I got back to running, I took that as a warning sign to ease right off. I also worked on relaxing all my lower leg muscles if I felt any twinges.

    Landing on my heel with a big stride was probably the original cause.

    I've had other pains shift from one side to the other. I think that I overcompensated with one leg, so straining the other.

    If your pain has eased then hopefully the inflammation from the damage has reduced and you are healing.


  • Hi there,

    The pain from shin splints is caused by damage and inflammation to the tissues near the shin bone (the tibia) which are literally being ground, scraped and hammered by the bone.

    Our bodies were not designed for our shins to scrape at our tissues so the question we have to ask is why is this happening in your body.

    The root cause very often is that there is some misalignment in your posture, and kinetic chain, so that you are not using your hips, knees, ankes and feet the way they were designed too. Basically, they are out of position so that when use run or walk or cycle the tissues are scraping against the tibia.

    Stand in front of the mirror and see if your feet and also your knee caps point straight ahead or do they face in or outwards at an angle. 

    They should point straight ahead. Them being at an angle means the legs will not operate as they were designed to.

    Also, stand up and close your eyes. Do you feel the weight evenly balanced on both feet and evenly on each foot? Or is one side more dominant and is the weight more on the inside or outside of the foot? Again, if it's not evenly balanced it's a sign of dysfunction.

    Muscles determine the position of the bones so it might indicate that there is an imbalance in your hip muscles which ultimately position the knee and the rest of the leg.

    The body is designed to take a lot of impact and cope with it. But if it is not being used correctly, over the years we lose this ability and finally the body says no more and gives you pain as a sign.

    Putting on straps, or changing sports, or altering your running pattern might help temporarily, but often, the pain returns even with your reduced activity either in the same location or somewhere else, as you haven't addressed the root cause.

    Go see someone who can address your posture to give you a permanent solution. Either an Alexander Technique practitioner, a switched on Pilates Instructor or a Postural Alignment Specialist.

    Take care and feel free to ask me any questions.

    Ameet Bhakta

    Postural Alignment Specialist



  • Thanks for all the advice.

    I dont feel its a posture thing? (Athough i don't know) I gave up ballet dancing 5 years ago having done it since the age of 3 and have always felt i have fairly good posture.

    My knee caps point straight ahead and cant say i feel my weigh leans either way?

    Bucket list: Doctor advised i did 20 mins of calf raises before going for a run, but a always felt this just made my legs feel tense whilst running. like you i think it was a combination of heel strike + big strides. With the added crappy trainers and doing to much too soon.

    One last question to every one....sorry! Assuming the pain will eventually go away? how shall i go about getting back into running? do a few weeks of calf build up first? 

    Found this NHS podcast? To help you gradually get in, seems a bit tedious considering that fitness wise i can run 30mins fine its just my legs don't like it! Worth trying ? or are there better ways?

  • Oh, well with that background your alignment is probably just fine. That points to forward heel landing which uses the shin muscle as a shock absorber for the landing.

    20 minutes of raises before running ? does sound a lot. Warming up is good, but muscle fatigue before running would be counter productive.

    As you say, you are fit enough to run for thirty minutes, but your shins aren't. C25K might be a bit beneath your fitness ability, but recently healed tissues need time to condition. Scar tissue is weaker then the surroundings.

    After my last two injuries I walked for a month instead of running to test out my tissues and then came back to running very carefully with short easy runs.

    Concentrate on staying on the nice side of the pain barrier, unless you have a source of new legs.

  • Thanks thats good advice! Fingers crossed!!

  • I have some positive results to report from the minimal approach suggested by the orthopaedic consultant.  Did 3.5 miles with no pain yesterday in my new brooks pure drift.  I removed the soles to give a more barefoot feel.  Was shocked at how out of condition I was.  Did the marathon in 3 05 in April yet puffed after a mere 3.5 miles now!

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