Couch to 5K

Shin splints


No doubt a familiar topic to all whether you have experienced it yourself or not.

I have had shin splints for 2 years now. The pain was at its worst summer just past when I could not even walk without pain.

I have been religiously stretching my calves for 8 months now and I started strengthening exercises for my calves too. I can play hockey pain free and I have always used fitted trainers (not worn out). I can walk about day to day with no pain and an x-ray revealed no bone damage. I wear fitted insoles to stabalise my heel/stop my foot rolling in while walking. Gait analysis revealed I have a good stride but my cadance is at 160ish and I do heel strike mostly...

I started a simple return to running programme with day 1: 5 min walk, 3x alternating 1 min jog, 1 min walk, 5 min cool down walk. Within the 1st 1 min jog the shin pain was back.

I am desperate to erradicate the shin slints for good and be able to go for a run, but nothing has helped me so far.

7 Replies

I had it and I had about 9 months off running. I had to see an nhs physio, which took an age, but it was worth it as I was in agony. I had to do strengthening exercises which got increasingly harder over 4 weeks, four times a day. When I did start running again for just 2 mins every third day, I had to do so slowly and take my foot through the full gait cycle from heel to toe. This felt weird as I had been a forefoot striker. I soon got used to it. It was just to help me to strengthen. I spent time in my bare feet and worked on balance exercises as well as calf strengthening. Slow runs up hill,once I got running again -only after weeks of tiny runs. I switched to lower drop shoes; transitioning from 12 mm offset to 4 mm. I felt much better for that change ☺ I had lots of severe pain from inflammation so kept icing it, dropped off eating dairy and inflammatory foods and drank home made anti inflammatory smoothies a day. You do what you can 😊 ,Once the inflammation calmed down i was able to foam roll away from the shin. I was given strict instructions for that. Rolling inflamed tissue is a no no.

You might go to your GP and ask for a referral as you can't keep suffering

I hope you can get it sorted ☺


You won't get any better or more comprehensive advice than this ^. misswobble has been there, done it and got the t-shirt. If you've been suffering as long as you have, then it makes sense to see a physio and get it dealt with once and for all. You really have suffered enough. Good luck :)

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Two years? I had it for 2 weeks, I'd have cut my legs off by now...yes, solid advice from MW. Hope you get it sorted.

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Thank you for the replies so far.

Curlygurly2 - it has been extremely challenging, yes.

Seen 9 different physios, all with different ideas which didn't help. NHS couldn't see me as often so I went private but it became so expensive as it has gone on for so long, so I am only seeing the NHS physio every 2 months...

Misswobble - are there any pages you read for full gait cycle? Sounds interesting.

Rather frustrating when I can play hockey and run around with no pain, but noone knows what I am doing wrong when I just go out for a run.


Blimey, 9 different physios!?! 😱😱😱

Maybe you need to see a sports therapist or a specialist sports podiatrist. Sounds like you need your biomechanics checking out. misswobble's advice is good, perhaps you need shoes with a different drop. I don't really understand the drop thing myself but I do know that I have one pair of boots that always cause shin pain if I wear them to walk up hill, which makes me think that it could possibly, maybe, perhaps be a shoe thing with you too. Do you ever get any shin pain if you run in your hockey boots?


I'm currently suffering from the same problem! Get some decent supportive trainers, not barefoot/minimal style ones.

Definitely find a good sports physio, maybe ask around if someone can recommend one to you. I've just started seeing one and my pain has gone! (I had everyday pain from just walking around tho). Have you had an MRI scan? It doesn't always show up on x-ray so MRI scan is helpful, mine showed a reaction on the surface of the bone which meant I had to rest up more. Physio then diagnosed tendonitis and a 'dodgy' hip (can't remember what was wrong with it but it was niggly and tight) so he fixed that!

It is strange that you can play hockey with no pain as thats impact too! Do you wear different shoes for hockey?

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Great to hear from someone going through the same thing (but obviously not great you have shin problems as I feel your pain)!

Definitely will find out about MRI possibilities as NHS physio is not progressing much just now. She did mention the chance of meeting a shin specialist who carries out muscle pressure testing (inserting pressure guage needle into muscle)...depends if the specialist still exists in the Edinburgh area though.

I have slightly ascis gel astro shoes for hockey..I used to think there were the cause of my problem as they are slightly more clumpy than running shoes but they seem to be okay while playing. I wear a pair of my running shoes for indoor hockey sometimes too...they seem okay.


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