Is this normal??: Hi all, I'm in need of some... - Couch to 5K

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Is this normal??


Hi all, I'm in need of some advice please,

I've been suffering with suspected shin splints since January, prior to that I managed to get to the end of week 5 without any problems. Then I got my gait analysed and bought some proper running shoes/inserts at Sweatshop, and by the third run of week 6 I had an incredible aching in my left shin, and a bit of a swelling. I could also feel the impact of walking up and down stairs.

In the last 4 months I've done a few runs of week 5 run 1, but I've always found by the 3rd run I had to stop as I could feel my shin again. I've now been referred to a physiotherapist, who doesn't think my shoes or insoles are the problem - apparently the leg muscles in both my legs are very tight, but especially in the left.

I've been doing lots of calf stretches as advised by the physio, but I went running on Tuesday night and found it such a struggle - my calf muscles literally felt like they were popping out of my legs, I could feel the impact in my shins and when I stopped running, I couldn't hold some of the stretches more than a few seconds because my ankles felt too tired to hold them.

So I have 3 questions which you may or may not be able to help me with:

1. Is it normal to feel like this when running/once stopped? or...

2. Can shin splints make your calves and ankles feel this way?

3. Is it possible shin splints are not the problem, and actually there's something else wrong?

Really grateful for any advice, as I'm at my wit's end and feel like giving up the whole thing. I haven't got another physio appointment until the end of May now.


6 Replies

It could absolutely all be related, tightness in your legs can contribute to shin splints and vice versa in my experience so you get into one of those self-fulfilling spirals!

It might be worth a bit of sports massage to start working it out and/or a foam roller as well as the stretching.

As you do these things also work on your lower leg strength, if you search for exercises there are plenty and all free :-)

It might take a few weeks but persevere, its all defeatable. But you need to work on both the tightness and strength together.

I'm no expert, but I think it might be a good idea going to the doctor's... Physios don't always know about everything. Or try another physio?

Sorry to not be more helpful...

Good luck xx


If you've had your gait analysed, youve probably already looked at this, but just in case not, which part of your foot do you land on? Landing on your heels can cause lower leg (and knee) problems. I get aching shins if I run faster, or harder, but am ok if I go slower/gentler. But the soreness has always gone within a day or so. I'd be wary of running more if they're already painful.

If you've changed your running shoes they will probably have more shock absorption than your last shoes as most trainers lose this over time. So when your running and you heel strike more energy is absorbed by the shoe... you then need more power from the muscles of your lower leg and foot for toe off/push off.

If your muscles are weak or don't have the stamina for this increased power they need then this could cause the pain your describing. Also I wouldn't rule out your new shoes and inserts - they may have corrected your foot position but your muscle length/joint position etc will have adapted over the years to the foot position you had previously. Suddenly correcting your foot position won't correct these things automatically and this can also cause aches and pains.

Personally I'd maybe try some strengthening work, repetitive loading of the muscles to build up the stamina, stretches and go back to your old shoes before gradually building up the amount of time you run in your new trainers.

But you need a proper assessment to work all this out... has the physio looked at you running in your old and new trainers? If your not happy find another physio with an interest in sports rehab.


I think you should go to a sports physio or doc. You really need someone who has special training in sports injuries and often 'normal' physios and GPs just don't have this.

Hope you get it sorted.


I have just posted this, that may help.

Like you I bought my shoes from Sweatshop, and also paid for the insoles they made. I was really happy with the service at Sweatshop, but the insoles were truly rubbish. Worn flat in 3 months! I have 'proper orthotics' from my physio. They were more expensive, but so much better. They are solid plastic formed things, and you really feel the support.

As for calf pain, you really need to stretch them out after a run, and that should do the trick. If they still hurt when running, try easing off a little.

I hope some of this helps

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