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Couch to 5K
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Do I have shin splints and what to do?

Hello wise runners,

I would really appreciate some advice. In the 3/4 weeks since I graduated I've been pushing myself further on each run and I've gone from running 30 mins to 54 mins in that time.

It was only on the gym treadmill so probably couldn't have managed that on the roads (where my PB is 47 mins - bad weather drove me indoors!)

So yesterday after doing 54 min on the treadmill, I felt okay, tired but not exhausted, like I could have run more.

Then I did some weights for 15 mins as, according to Public Health England's One You app, as well as killing myself running miles three times a week, not drinking and eating lettuce, I need to do weight resistance too!! Jeez...... :-(

So did some some leg lifts and squats and felt fine. But last night at work I was limping! And today too.

The pain is in my right shin at the front - not a sharp pain, quite a dull one but making me limp nevertheless.

If it's shin splints, how long will I be out of action and what can I do to speed my recovery? I'm gutted I can't run tomorrow :-(

Thanks for any advice!

17 Replies

It may not be, rest up so it goes away, and come back with just walking then gentle run at short distance, nothing else much which taxes the legs, just light runs and see how that goes. I hope it's not shin splints for you, as if it is, then to get rid of it properly takes about 8 weeks of NO running. If the right time off isn't taken, it can more than likely come back..


Thanks Dave, my sister is a fitness instructor and has just been telling me that she thinks running is bad as you end up with injuries. But I don't want to stop! I'm 50, soon 51, and maybe it's just too much of a shock for my body. Depressing.


Sorry Dave, meant to ask, what is a light run in terms of time/distance? I am a slow runner - 8km per hour on the treadmill, 7 to 7.5km on the roads.


Haha! That's a load of tosh really! I took it up when 60! And others on here older than me, yes, you will get niggles when running, usually only a mild ache or pain, but there is such thing as overuse injuries, yes, doing too much too soon! do you think you may have been doing just a tad too much on your pins, you have to look after your legs and they'll look after you...so take it easy and build up gradually!😊


It's a relief to know that's a load of tosh! My sister said that running did her back in and her mate had to give up running completely because it buggered her knees up. She was basically advising me to cut back hugely on running. I still want to run three times a week though! Maybe put the 10k goal on ice for the time being.


You don't have to shelf your 10k goal. Just build up really slowly. And have some weeks with only easy runs to cut your body some slack. I've only had shin splints once and it was from walking too quickly. They were painful to touch and too painful to run on for a few days. I also run in compression socks (I wear them when not running as well on advice of my dr). They might be worth a try.

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It does sound as if you've broken the golden rule about only increasing distance or time by 10% a week so it may just be your muscles rebelling somewhat! The idea is to increase gradually so that you avoid injury.

Why not see what a few days rest brings and then seek medical advice if necessary. Hope it mends soon.

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I had sore sins after graduating and took a week off which was horrible but needed. If my legs are sore, I listen to them. I currently run three times a week (2 x 5k and 1 x 10k). I have found that I have patches where my legs are troublesome, no injuries so far, but I have used different ways to recover: rest, strength and flex exercises, running on soft ground, introducing run-walking until I feel ready to get back on it

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Rest up and see how it goes. I found that ice was the best treatment so get some containers filled and stashed in the freezer for playing on and around your shin. anti inflammation medication takes quite a while to kick in but i wouldn't rule it out. It only works if the muscles are at rest, so take last thing at night, if the pain gets worse the that is.

It is a symptom of doing too much too soon! Also you need to have a good, nourishing diet! To be fit, healthy and slim takes work but you have to eat properly.

I hope you feel better soon☺ I had to have physio and it was mostly calf and leg strengthening exercises, such as foot lifts, stair hangs (ankle drops). 4 times a day for months 😕

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Really appreciate these replies - there is some great advice here, so thanks everyone. I'm just rushing out but will be back later to update! :)


I felt almost totally recovered this morning and up until I left the house today to do some shopping and meet a friend in town. Now I'm hobbling again as the pain has returned ! Oh dear.


To those who've suffered with shin splints, were you advised by the doctor/physio to take time off work? And if so, how long were you off?

I'd prefer not to have time off as I don't get paid if I don't go to work, plus I'm single, so no partner to help with the bills.

The pain seemed to have vanished this morning - then I went into town, did a fair bit of walking around, and tonight, back at home, I'm in a lot of pain. I've got my leg up with ice on it. Sigh.

I'm due at work tomorrow and wondering if I should get some crutches so I can get to the office without making my shin problem worse.

What I'm asking is, are you not supposed to walk if you have pain in your shin or is it okay to walk, even if you're hobbling?

My job is sedentary so getting to and from work will be my main obstacle.

Thanks. Seems that I will not be able to run for a while. I feel so frustrated!


Oh eck! I could have done with crutches but I did not ask to be fair. I thought I had done something very bad as I was in agony. I got strong pain relief anti inflammation medication but I had to wait months for nhs physio. ,you might fare better than me, as my gp forgot to do the physio referral 😠

The pain is from the inflammation, so,getting that under control by icING it regularly would be my recommendation. you can't do much else til that has eased.

It would be a good idea to see a doctor early so you can get a proper diagnosis. you could also get crutches. I would not walk about too much. you could elevate your leg slightly and ice it while at your desk. you can get a freezer pack from the chemist. get,2!

Let me know how you get on. Don't delay! ☺


Thanks MissWobble. I was thinking about ringing the GP this morning but was worried about looking like a hypochondriac and thought I ought to wait till after the weekend, as I was in so much pain last night that I wondered if I had a stress fracture.

I'd been reading other running forums and people were saying that doctors had little sympathy for runners as they came in with self-inflicted injuries that put further pressure on the NHS - I think that put me off contacting the doctor today too.

I also read that shin splints should ease after a few days of rest and if they didn't, I probably had a stress fracture: another reason not to rush to the doctor's today, or so I thought.

I iced it last night and the pain did ease after a few hours. Today after a good night's rest it doesn't feel so bad so I will hobble to work this afternoon and try to walk around as little as possible. Today I don't believe I have a stress fracture, although I did last night when I could barely walk!

Really appreciate your feedback MissWobble - I will take your advice and ring the GP in the morning. However, same day appointments are only for "emergencies" - otherwise you have to wait two weeks for an appointment, and if I only want to be referred for physio that wouldn't be an emergency would it?

Thanks so much for your advice - it is so, so helpful and reassuring!

Must admit, I can understand why people don't return to running after injury because it is so disruptive - I'm already cancelling weekend arrangements and wondering whether I will still be able to go away in a couple of weeks' time. Gaah!


Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm now icing and wearing compression socks, which all seems to be helping.


You sound like me! Dithering over bothering with the GP. I don't do doctors - and had only just signed up with one a short while ago due to an ear infection. I felt guilty for going back again with a self-inflicted broken leg! See, the thing is, shin splint pain comes and goes. One day you think your leg must surely be broken, the next it's not too bad. Mine reached a crescendo of pain after two months from onset!!!!! Why that is I have no idea

Don't hesitate going to your GP! Mine waggled my leg about to rule out a broken leg. A stress fracture is what shin splint is but with physio you will get it sorted. Your GP will refer you to a NHS physio. Hopefully your wait won't be too long.

Once I got to the physio, after a very long wait, due to the GP forgetting to write to him, the treatment started immediately and I felt so relieved. Running is out of the question. Be prepared for months off!

If indeed it is shin splint!!!! It could be something else, but you won't know without a proper diagnosis, which is where your GP comes in.


Are streching well after your runs?


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