Time off for injury

Hi all! I've recently started C25K, and finished W2D3 on Saturday. I had been feeling a bit of a twinge in my knees on Friday but decided I'd be fine, but as I started out on Saturday realised I was wrong. They didn't feel too bad and actually seemed better during the run segments than the walks. I also (foolishly!) tried a new route and ended up on a field with longer grass and managed to roll my ankle slightly in a hole in the field. Didn't hurt at the time, but on Sunday my knees were hurting so I bought some knee supports and have been wearing them on and off. They seem to help. However, Monday I developed some pain in my lower legs, in my shins when I walk. I tried a couple of very gently jogs in front of my house but the pain was worse so I stopped. My knees seem okay now, but my legs are getting worse :/ I also have pain on the outside above my right ankle travelling up my leg, and a sore spot and minor bruising under my left knee. So I suppose my question is, does anyone have any idea of what this could be and how long recovering will take? I should also mention that I'm 23, female and very overweight (currently 245lbs), I've been watching what I eat the last couple of weeks and have lost about 5 lbs so far. I have always walked a lot but am very unfit. I have been really enjoying C25K and I really want to get back out there, but I'm concerned about how this injury is going to set me back.

One other thing - I'm taking a disabled person on holiday for a week on Friday, and since I cannot leaver her alone at any point I can't run, but I will be pushing her in her wheelchair. By the time I get back I will have been off running for 2 weeks. Will I have lost all my fitness gains and have to start over again? The thought of this is very disheartening :(

Thanks for your help, and sorry for the long post!

6 Replies

  • Hi, Nicole. Firstly well done on getting started with C25K! Hardest bit done!

    I'm not an experienced runner, but am a lifelong netballer, so I have a bit of an understanding of those aches and pains. I don't claim to be an expert, but I would expect that some of those niggles are your body's natural response to new levels of activity. However, there appears to be quite a lot going on in your knees and shins (which may well be shin splints), with the additional likely ankle sprain. That's quite a shopping list of issues to be careful of.

    Personally, I would at least consult my GP for a bit of a once-over. It may be useful to get a referral to a physio, who can advise you about posture while running, and exercise for quads , hamstrings, etc, to ensure you guard against injury. If you can afford a private consultation, go for it - it will almost certainly be quicker than an NHS referral, but even if you need to wait it could work out nicely as you're just going on holiday.

    Try to walk as much as you can while you're away. Keep making good choices with your food and drink, to build on the weight-loss (you've already made a good start), and even if you need to go back a little in the programme, remember that every minute you run is doing you good. Don't be disheartened - it's important to keep yourself free from injury, and to take a gentle approach at first.

    Hope it all works out well :0)

  • Hi Nicole,

    Every person and every injury is different. Sadly, the only recommendation I can make is visit your GP. If the pain is bad, skip GP and visit A & E.

    No one can tell you how long it will take you to recover.

    All I can recommend is keep doing what you can in the meantime. Rest when your body tells you to.

    If budget permits, please also see a physio therapist.

    You have age on your side so take time to recover fully before getting back to C25K even if it means starting with Week 1 again.

    All the best!


  • Hi Nicole, I reckon the two weeks off running will be a good thing for you. This length of time won't put you back but perhaps start back at week 2 when you do so. You'll have all sorts of new aches and pains as your body gets used to the running, but over time it'll become stronger and more able to cope with the longer runs. This isn't a race, you can take all the time you need to finish C25k so see this as a useful interlude!

  • Imagine if all these aches and pains had been given more time to quietly develop over the years, and catch you out when you were no longer in the prime of your life. In a sense the aches and pains are not a bad thing. It's just your body, saying, "Listen!" and then later, "Ahhhhh! At long last, she's listening."

    In my inexpert opinion:

    1. The ankles are probably not a big deal. Sometimes there's bone damage with shin splints, I've heard, but most of the time it's just muscles, which just need some rest.

    2. The knee bled a bit. Bruising is the calm name for internal bleeding. It needn't mean that you've burst a major artery, but something took quite a knock there, somehow.

    3. The pain travelling up your right leg might be your "ITB" (ilial tibial band or something like that). What happens is the ground gives your knee a bit of a jog to the left or right, the knee on its own is not yet strong enough to cope with that, and the muscles and tendons down the side of your leg try to do the work. And then sometimes that somehow pinches on a nerve, and you end up with pain.

    There's a lot going on there.

    I think the advice already given is good. Rest a bit more, maybe. Your body will repair itself during the rest. It's not just your muscles you need to build now, so if the other tissues need more time, give it to them.

    And maybe try sticking to nice level surfaces like the road or pavement. This just simplifies the set of forces you're asking your legs to deal with. On broken ground, you're putting a lot of demands on yourself. Walking it might be good for you (less impact; more time to adjust), but running cross country is something you should postpone for some later date.

  • Thanks for all the advice guys! I have been resting, just the normal walking I do at work (pedometer tells me I clock up a couple of miles a day) in good shoes and I am starting to feel better. I think (know...) that I'm just impatient! Next week seems to be a good opportunity to strengthen up my legs - squats feel okay, are there any other exercises anyone can recommend? :)


  • My physio suggested a few exercises. But they were tailored to my particular injury.

    Squats are good. However, if you are looking for something specific, you may be better visiting a physio and getting some advise.

    Some of the exercises were to stand on the edge of a stair and rise up and go down to strengthen my ankles.

    Again, that was because I was recovering from an ankle injury.

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