T Nation

Shin Problems, Any Advice?

This has been a problem that’s been plaguing me for some years now. Whenever I start walking at with any kind of intensity my shins just start going on fire and after 10-15 minutes I literally have to use my quads to lift my lower legs like they were dead weight to keep walking.

I know everyone is thinking shin splints but I’m not so sure. I’m a pretty small guy at only 160lbs but this is a problem that’s proven to be quite consistent with this weight. On the theory that it was excess bodyfat and weak legs that caused it I had cut down from 155 to like 135 like a year and a half ago ( i know i know ). The problem vanished. I surmised that my legs were probably too weak for the weight of my body. I’ve since started bulking again for about the last year and boom the problems have started again with the walking I’m doing on campus with the new semester.

Any tips/advice. I’m thinking I may need to train my shins or something but how the hell do you even do that?

When you walk fast, you’re almost certainly overstriding. That is, your front leg is extending farther in front of you than your body would like. This means that when you plant your foot, you’re landing on the heel (fine, most people do this anyway), and your foot is at a greater angle to the ground. Now, when you plant the heel, your momentum (and body weight) is causing your foot to rotate very quickly about the point of contact. Your shin muscles try to prevent this, and wear themselves out. This is likely why you have noticed a correlation with body weight.

This problem will be exacerbated by bad shoes. Court shoes optimized for tennis or basketball can be particularly bad. Some “cross-trainers” are really court shoes with a different upper. You might consider a true distance running shoe or a well-designed shoe with a very rounded back. Keen makes some that I really like, as does Merrill. These will tend to reduce the tendency of the foot to try to instantly rotate about the heel.

Also, be more aware of your stride, and consciously try to land with a slightly flatter foot. Try to push off more with the back foot, so that your body is farther over the leading foot when it lands.

You can train your shins (backwards running and swimming are good), but you might be better off analyzing your footwear and training your calves so you can push off better.

Hows your flexibility?

Also, how are your shoes, cheap ones? You could have some weird feet which can cause all sorts of problems with the wrong footwear. If you have decent insurance and can afford it, go to a foot doctor and ask him. If you don’t have that amount of money, find yourself a specialty shoe store or one that does custom fit shoes, and ask them if you need better shoes.

edit: ah the post above me just showed up. whoops on the repeat.

i’d recommend an orthopedist. this could be a compartmental issue, which can cause tissue to die. you could also be tying your shoes too tight. if it’s been persistent for years, there’s no reason not to see a doctor and have it professionally treated.

there are tons of sites with exercises for the lower leg. google shin splints or go to runners world.

Appreciate the responses guys.

I never really considered that it might be the length of my strides, but that definitely is a quirk I picked up from my older cousin when we used to go on long walks when I was a kid. I’ll try out your suggestion cherub.

I don’t usually wear sneakers, actually I never wear them. I usually wear clarks and shoes along that line in different brands (aldo, kenneth cole etc), basically the stuff you might find in Macys. Perhaps, that isn’t best for walking, I don’t know. None of my shoes have laces, all slip on/off so it can’t be tightness.

I’ll try out the suggestions and if all else fails I will go see a doctor about it. Thanks again for the help.

grab some of these, you will not regret it!


i totally agree, get a pair of vibrim’s. get out of the shoes, the foot isn’t meant to be in a shoe all the time. even if they don’t solve the pain problem they are a great conversation starter