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quarkquarkquark's avatar

What can I do to end my running pain?

Asked by quarkquarkquark (1690 points ) August 9th, 2011

This is actually a cross-post from reddit; I need whatever help I can get.

What I have are a bunch of questions that have all been answered all over the web. The issue is that I’ve tried every fix I’ve read about and I still can’t push beyond 2 miles, so I figure I’ll present my complete profile here and hope for some help.

I was a severe sufferer of shin splints as a shod runner: A mile on pavement in a pair of $150 ASICS put me in unbearable pain for over a month. As soon as I switched to minimal footwear (aquasocks in my case), I had better luck, and I was able to work up to two miles every two or three days.

The problem is I can’t work past it. The first issue is the pain I get toward the end of every run: a dull ache on the inside of my ankle, above the little knobby bone that I’m sure has a name. This pain subsides after I run and then returns with a vengeance the next day. I can usually feel it when I walk. Lately, that pain disappears after the first post-run day and the following day I experience a kind of shin-wide pain not dissimilar from the kind I had DURING runs when I was shod.

I stretch before and after I run, I try to take sufficient time off, and my cadence is generally above 180 steps/minute. I am careful to lift instead of pushing off, although my form does tend to get sloppier about 75% of the way through the run. I continue to run in aqua socks.

It’s my dream to be a long distance runner. I love running, but as soon as I hit a mile it stops being fun. My form deteriorates and, like I said, around 2 miles my body decides to start giving me shit.

So what say you all? Is it my form? What can I do?

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9 Answers

creative1's avatar

What I did to break the length I could run further is I would take one or two steps extra steps past the point of the day before. What you are doing is slowly adding distance to your run everytime you run and your body is getting used to it slowly. It takes longer to add the distance but it does come with time.

I would also apply ice to the areas that causes you the most pain right after your run and then alternate with heat then ice again and if all possible I would keep your legs elavated above your heart it keeps too much blood from going to your legs and causing swelling in them. Then I would also take an aleve or naproxin or an anti inflamatory either just before or right after a run, this will also keep any possible swelling inside from causing you pain because shin splints are caused by inflammation to the muscles and tendons or soft tissue along the shin bone so you want to do things to keep that swelling from occurring.

JLeslie's avatar

I am not a long distance runner, but one thing I would suggest as someone who exercises is not to stretch until your muscles are warm. Stretching before exercising can harm a muscle, more chances of a pull. I would walk or a slow jog for a couple minutes, then stretch, then do your distance. You probably already know the stretch after exercising is the most important to avoid muscle soreness and to help increase muscle length and flexibility.

I wonder if your pain might be the bone or arterial?

Poser's avatar

Have you been fitted for shoes? Many running stores will analyze your gait and give you shoes that are designed for your type of foot/form. I had similar problems, such that I could only run every other day or less. Once I got fitted for running shoes, I haven’t had any problems.

CuriousLoner's avatar

Have you tried other means of working out your lower body?

Also you should consider building up a strong core and even some light upper body exercises.

Judi's avatar

Do you have insurance? Maybe your doctor could prescribe a few visits with a physical therapist who is probably the best qualified to help you get beyond this.

nikipedia's avatar

I am not a big believer in minimalist footwear myself. My problems with shin splints went away when I was properly fitted for running shoes (I run in Mizuno Wave Riders now) with insoles. Since your shin splints got better when you switched from shoe 1 to shoe 2, I would not be surprised if shoe 3 ended up being, to borrow from Goldilocks, “just right.”

That said, I am not entirely sure your issue is shin splints. Based on your description, it could be tendinitis. If that’s the case, you may need to take a long-ish period of time off to let the problem heal COMPLETELY. I’m talking 8–10 weeks. During that time, wear your most supportive footwear and rest the problem areas as much as humanly possible. Then, when you start running again, build up your mileage consistently but very slowly. My sports medicine doctor would only let me run 1 mile per week when I was doing this. I built back up by spacing my runs out, first once per week, then every 2 days, then every other day. I think some bodies cannot handle more than every other day. And you can certainly become a distance runner with that kind of schedule.

If I am wrong about the above, then my only other advice for you is to manage the pain with RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation. And a lot of ibuprofen.

intrepidium's avatar

Sounds to me like a visit to an osteopath might be in order. The fact that your pain has a pattern of recurrence suggests the issue might have to do with alignment or maybe even bone/tissue structure… incidentally, you don’t have fallen arches or flat feet do you? Those could be factors too…

pezz's avatar

The best way that I can see to tackle this problem is to stop running!

Raych's avatar

Stop running for now to give your body a chance to heal. If you keep trying to push through the pain, you may end up injuring it even further. Also, use a cold compress on the area for 15 min at a time when you start feeling the pain. Cold will help to reduce inflammation and help to speed healing. You can still exercise without causing so much strain on your joints. Try swimming or roller blading for a while. It’s better for your body and you’ll be a better all-around athlete if you cross-train anyway.

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