Couch to 5K
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Shin splints - what to do???

I've tried running a few times, but nothing consistent. It seems that everytime I do try to run, I end up with crippling shin splints for weeks after even a short run. I thought the C25K might be ok because it involves a lot of walking at first. I started it earlier today, and I can already feel my shins starting to hurt. This will inevitibly mean that I won't be able to continue for the rest of the week, and probably even next week. I just don't know what to do. I want to lose around 3-4 stone, and thought this might be my chance, but the shin splints are yet again going to prevent me from doing it.

12 Replies


This article may be helpful:


Interesting link - but it seems to concentrate on treatment after injury, rather than prevention of injuries. It doesn't mention the possible problems of heel-striking, and how changing the way you put your foot down can prevent injuries.

I think it would be really useful if it emphasised the benefits of starting off slowly, taking short paces, especially for older, or less fit people. Lots of people on here have found it helped to slow down, to quite a bit slower than they expected.

I know I've got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about slowness and avoiding heel-striking - but it is for very good reasons! Shouldn't the NHS want to avoid encouraging new runners to overdo things and end up with injuries?!


Have you tried another form of exercise, perhaps running just isn't for you?


have you been fitted for proper running trainers?? wearing the correct footwear really can make a huge difference.


Maybe a session with a physio or sports specialist would be worth a go?


Yes, as shelleymcb said. I finally got rid of them by changing my trainers. Had a gait analysis which I wish I'd had early on in the programme! Also found out I needed bigger shoes. I wear a size 6 normally, but my running shoes are 7.5!

Good luck, I know how frustrating it is!



Hi Ray,

Sorry to hear about that. Your post certainly makes me more reticent of still trying to get Mrs HH out running, who tells me she has gotten shin splints every time she has ever ran.

However, I do agree with Fingalo/Shelley/Norni's suggestions.

From the NHS site:

"Shin splints have a number of different causes. The most common cause is medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).

MTSS is the result of frequent and intense periods of exercise when your body is not used to it. Long-distance running and sports that involve a lot of stopping and starting, such as basketball and tennis, increase your risk of getting MTSS. Suddenly increasing the distance and/or pace that you run are also common causes"

I'm reckoning that it's a combination of factors.

As others have said, your trainers should be suited to your feet and gait. A decent specialist shop will look at all this and recommend trainers for you with no obligation to buy. Old trainers can also be bad. In the cycling world we have a milage count on our chains before they need to be replaced; trainers are much the same. Though I don't know the equivalent distances.

Can I ask you if you do any other exercise? The body can be very annoyed when you start something from nothing - and I'm not even talking about exercise (routines! i've just gone from 8 hours sleep a night to about 7, and now I'm tired alot more - i'll get used to it though...)

Also, running technique may be a factor. The two things to think about here are how far you stretch your legs, and at what angle your feet hit the ground. If they strike the ground at your heel that's a bad thing.

Hope this helps.


Cheers for the help everyone. I think I'll go and get a gait analysis done tomorrow, as I've heard that a few times now. Hopefully should help.


Where are you running?

I used to suffer from shin pain almost constantly for years. I have to confess that C25K has not had the desired effect on my weight or on enabling me to function better in my daily life, but weirdly, that particular pain has pretty much gone, and is not connected with running when it happens. I don't run in the sort of shoes you might expect and when I used more cushioned ones, the pain was back with a vengeance, and I never run on roads. I also only do the before and after walk and don't do any stretching as that seems to cause me a lot of problems. I am wondering if you might be the same if you run into difficulties so quickly - unless you are running too hard. If you think of it as a different movement rather than a different speed, that may improve things too.

Fingers crossed you find a way to making running work for you - if you treat it as a gift to yourself rather than punishment for being overweight and/or unfit, it's so enjoyable.


'nother thing is try to avoid running on hard surfaces if possible. Grass or trails are easier on the joints so presumably on the bones too. Some people on here with joint problems also find treadmill running lower impact. Good luck. :-)


OK I've been and had my gait analysis done and bought a pair of running shoes to suit my needs. I'm a neutral forefoot runner. My shin splints have gotten worse today and I haven't been able to carry on with week 1 of the C25K, which I am really gutted about as I was looking forward to getting back out there. I just can't understand why I get shin splints so easily. The first week consists of mostly walking, and I wasn't even pushing myself very hard when jogging. Gets me down so much!!!



I noticed your last post was 4 years ago...did you manage to get rid of your shin splints?


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