T Nation

Anyone Have/Had Shin Splints?

So I want to start doing a little sprinting, but the second I start running I get fucking shin splints. I can maybe jog for 20 metres then the pain is so fucking bad I can hardly walk.

I never had these in my life until I started putting on all this weight, but I don’t see how it can be that since I’m sure the body would adapt(I’ve had em over 6months).

I love to run and do sports but this is really pissing me off lately. I thought they would go away but I looked into it some and apparently they don’t. Don’t have the cash to go see anyone.

I’ve been doing some stretches and they help some, but they come back the second I start running again.

Was wondering if anyone else has had these before and how they got rid of them.

Had them so bad I couldn’t walk properly from one class to the next way back in high school. Stretching both the gastrocnemius/soleus as well as the anterior tibialis helped a little, but only time and more (painful) running eventually caused them to go away. Not the answer you want to hear but I think you just need a combination of more flexibility and strength in the area. Stay with the running. In time, it will pass.

I used to have them alot in college when I would run and walk for exercise. What helped me was to rotate my ankle in a circle both to the right and left maybe 20 times each before and after I would run or walk. It helped alot.

I’m willing to try anything to get rid of this shit. Thanks for the input. Was it long before they went away?

[quote]hardgnr wrote:
So I want to start doing a little sprinting, but the second I start running I get fucking shin splints. I can maybe jog for 20 metres then the pain is so fucking bad I can hardly walk.

I never had these in my life until I started putting on all this weight, but I don’t see how it can be that since I’m sure the body would adapt(I’ve had em over 6months).

I love to run and do sports but this is really pissing me off lately. I thought they would go away but I looked into it some and apparently they don’t. Don’t have the cash to go see anyone.

I’ve been doing some stretches and they help some, but they come back the second I start running again.

Was wondering if anyone else has had these before and how they got rid of them.

[/quote]

I get shin splints occasionally during the track season.
Ice is your best friend, you have a couple of options when it comes to icing your shins.

A)Get a 5 gallon bucket fill it 50/50 with ice cubes and water. Stick your legs in it for 10-15 minutes, if you can.

Your other option is:

B)Get some Styrofoam cups fill them with water and put them in your freezer until they are frozen. Tear away excess Styrofoam so you are left with ice yet still have Styrofoam you can hold on to and use this to massage your shins or w/e is sore. Do that for 15-20 minutes.

You can also take ibuprofen to help reduce some of the pain. If you do ice be sure to ice 2-3 times a day for 15-20 minutes.

I’ve had shin splints for years… However, I never run… I just deal with it.

Yes, I had these before very much in the same way you describe. This was about 8 years ago. I tried custom orthotics which did not help at all. The orthotics were really uncomfortable and bothered my arches.

I don’t know exactly how I got rid of them and why some of the things I did worked (at least in my mind), but the following is what I did.

Whenever I ran and the shin splints came on, I would walk until the pain subsided. No matter what, I would never end a running session with pain in my shins. I would always walk off the pain completely. This seemed to help for future running sessions.

I would do fast uphill walks on a treadmill. The softness of the treadmill seemed to help out. Why uphill? Just because it was more challenging.

I bought the best running shoe for my foot arch type. In hindsight, this was not really necessary but picking the right shoe is important. I have flat feet so I do well in stability running shoes namely Asics and New Balance. If you’re running in Nike shoes, I would suggest you try out another brand. The Asics 2130 is a good place to start. The only people that I know who run well in Nike shoes are thin and have very high arches. Try on the New Balance 992. They’re expensive and ugly, but you’ll know what a good shoe feels like.

Ankle/Foot rotations also seemed to help out before and after runs.

That’s about all I can recommend. Just take it slow, be patient, and they will eventually go away. I struggled with them for about a year I guess due to weight gain and being a novice runner at the time. I would imagine a foam roller might help too. Good luck.

I ran track in high school, both as a sprinter and a distance runner at different points in time. For me, the shinsplits were alot worse when I was a sprinter, and lasted a good month. At the time I did the ABCs with my toes and was fortunate enough that they only hurt when I wasn’t sprinting.

When I was a distance runner I had them again, and this time I did ABCs and iced daily. They were gone within two weeks.

If you haven’t tried icing, give it a shot. It’s not the be-all end-all in terms of shin splint treatment, but it can help.

I had terrible shin splints for awhile.

  • strengthen your shins, while sitting on a table or something, put weights on your toes and lift your toes, pointing them straight ahead and then pointing them up
  • run on softer surfaces until your shins adapt (treadmill is nice and soft)
  • try some new shoes, (although othotics should be a last resort and I’m highly suspicious of their value)
  • check your running form, try POSE method
  • if they are really bad don’t run on them, you may have or get a stress fracture. If you can’t stand to hop on one foot five times then take time off running and heal
  • throw a wet towel in the freezer before you run and ice your shins when you stop

hardgnr-
I have never heard of anyone getting them as soon as they start running.
Usually kicks in after a while-I used to get them but would only get them if I did 15-20 mins or more running.
It sounds like you have especially weak and/or tight Anterior Tibialis muscles-the muscles running down the front of your shins,which dorsiflex your feet (pull your feet up towards you)
I was training for a 10k race and the pain was unbearable,so I had to do something.
After doing some research,
I used a twofold approach which got rid of them in under 4 weeks (having suffered for over 3 years!) and have since used it with clients and members with success-

1-STRENGTHEN THE TIBIALIS-sit on the floor in front of a cable/pulley station,set at its lowest point.
Attach an ankle strap to it,but put your foot through instead,over your shoe.
sit far enough back so there is a bit of tension on the strap before you start.support the working leg with your other leg bent underneath it,then flex the foot with the strap attached towards you.
Count one second up,two or three seconds down-it is important to choose a weight you can slowly control the return on,to target the muscle through the eccentric phase.
Also choose a weight you can do 3 x sets x 12 reps of-you are aiming for a balance of strength and endurance.
This is a finesse exercise to correct an imbalance,so you should feel you’re working it,but not ‘balls to the wall’!

2-DECREASE TIGHTNESS IN TIBIALIS-This description is probably more accurate than ‘stretch the tibialis’ or ‘increase flexibility’-your shins probably have knots in them,caused by running.This method was prescribed to me by a Sports Massage Therapist-After running,in the shower or locker room,while your muscles are still warm and skin wet,grab a bar of soap and firmly and slowly rub up and down your shins,really press down on the soap,don’t do it too gently.
It will hurt the first few times,but trust me,it gets easier!

Good luck.

I was in a similar situation a few months back… I’d be golden for about 1/4 of a mile and then, like you experienced, terrible pain and also significant swelling from my ankles right on up through my shins.

i made several changes that really helped; First, although I hated spending the money, I bought a real nice pair of running shoes from a store where they really work with you to find the correct fit and brand of show for the way you walk…they analyze whether you pronate/supinate when you walk, your arch…etc.

Second, I also bought a pair of 40 dollar insoles for additional cushioning.

Third, like several others have said, I began icing/stretching almost daily. in the last two months, those changes alone have allowed to me to go from that 1/4 mile to 2.5 miles before I begin to have some stiffness and pain…they’re not cured, but it’s been a huge improvement.

The MOST valuable piece of information I can give you, however, is to ignore any advice to deal with the pain and keep running. They will NOT go away, in fact they will get worse as the muscle continues to tear away from the bone and you will probably also end up with stress fractures. Then you can say goodbye to running and hello to physical therapy and crutches.

[quote]irish20cb wrote:
The MOST valuable piece of information I can give you, however, is to ignore any advice to deal with the pain and keep running. They will NOT go away, in fact they will get worse as the muscle continues to tear away from the bone and you will probably also end up with stress fractures. Then you can say goodbye to running and hello to physical therapy and crutches. [/quote]

This is very good advice. Do listen to this!

Yeah I think irish is right. When I had them, the pain only got worse the more running or jumping I did.

I rested when I could, and when I exercised I wore long soccer socks that covered my shins all the way to my knees. For whatever reason, it worked.

I used to get them in high school during basketball season.

Look to your shoes to be the problem, try different pairs of running shoes and that can sometimes fix the problem.

Or

Any exercise for the tibialis helps. Lying reverse leg curls (lol) sit reverse on a leg curl machine and place your toes under the pad. Then curl the toes toward your body and it will stretch and work the tibialis.

Or place a 45lb plate under your heel and on top of your toes then lift up.

It sounds crazy but it helped me.

DG

I agree with the advice to strengthen and stretch the tibialis. I’ve had shin splints a few times before, besides rest, the only thing that helped was to strengthen and stretch the tibialis.

I’ve found that trying to train through the pain only makes it worse. Take a few weeks off from running or anything that aggravates the pain and then work on the tibialis.

Working on ankle mobility in general is a good idea.

surprised know one has mentioned getting a calf massage, hurts like a bitch but the next day there was no pain, and no pain for a couple of weeks after.

irish hit the nail on the head- you cannot run through shin splints. A friend of mine did so in XC and now has permanent stress fractures in both legs that will probably bar him from military service.

Big points:

  1. Running surfaces. I remember my first year of track in high school we spent 4 weeks running and jumping on the basketball court because the weather was terrible that year- a good 1/4 of the team got shin splints. A change of surfaces might help.

  2. Running shoes. As others have stated, the correct running shoe makes all the difference. More $ does not equal better though, try out many different kinds of shoes and decide on one that works for you.

  3. Calf tightness. This was a big one, my soleus was chronically tight for a long time.

Thanks for all the advice. Never realised how common this actually was.

I have about 4 runners, 3 are old shit ones and the ones I always wear are my Nikes. When I think about it, I never experienced shin splints in my life until after I had those shoes.

I will work on strengthening the tibialas, as this is obviously the problem. I tried the 5 hop test and after 5 hops they are throbbing with pain and are extremly tight. I have tried resting them, and it helps some but it is no long term solution.

I am pretty confident if I work on strength and keeping them loose, they will go away, and probably ditch the nikes.

I had really bad shin splints when I started lacrosse, I found that if i use one of those 45 degree boxes against a wall to really stretch out my legs before I run, and try foam rolling before and after.

Both of those helped me a tone.

Ive just found out that the pain ive had in my legs is shin splints… im about 260 pounds and as a student, have worn flip flops and very flat shoes for 2 years straight. walking up the hill to town on nights out made my legs seize up and got really sore.
a recent session on the treadmill put me in pain like usuall, but i also noticed i had lumps on my left shint hat wernt there before, so i stopped.
deifnatey shin splints… so ive started walking in trainers to work, doing cardio on the cyclers, and stretching my calf and leg aloot more than usual.

everyone i spoke to said dont keep training it, because your leg will fall off.
RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) may be tedious, but it seems to do the trick.