Calf Pain. Can I Run?

by Andy
(San Francisco, CA)

I ran 5 miles on Sunday, and everything was ok but after that (like 2 hrs after) my right calf started to hurt. Is like someone had hit me on the side of my lower leg (toward the inside). I kind of stopped and waited a little while for stretching, but I stretched anyway.

The pain, which was mild, was there all monday through Wednesday while I walked, but I thought I could run, and I did 3 miles yesterday, the pain went away while I was running but it still bothered a little all the time I ran.

Today the pain is a little bit worse, not horrible, but worse than before (probably I shouldn't have run). When I woke up, I was actually limping, but it went away now.
But I don't have any swelling, it's not bruised, there was no clicking at any time, just hurt when I walk, especially when I go downstairs. It doesn't hurt when I sit, meaning not moving and I can flex my toes with no pain. The pain is not really bad and I think I could run, but I don't know if I should, since the pain is there ALL the time.

Should I go to the doctor, how much should I wait, can I run while I wait. Please don't tell me I can't run.

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Andy,

Thanks for your running injury question. It is always hard to diagnose someone via a few words. But this sounds most like the beginning signs of shin splints.

You can get shin splints on the inside or the front/outside of your lower leg.

Shin splints usually start as a bit of an annoying pain. During your workout the pain goes away, but after the workout the pain comes back a bit stronger.

You can get shin splints because of too much stress on your lower legs, usually put on by too much mileage. But shin splints can also be caused by worn shoes.

I can highly recommend to stop running now. If this develops into a chronic injury, you are not going to be a happy camper for a long time.

Icing your lower legs should be a first thing you do. The Shin Ice is a pretty good solution for icing your shins easily. Click here for more information.

Stretching your legs is also really important. Check out my page on running stretches for some good stretches to strengthen your lower legs and the muscles around your lower legs.

Further treatment of your shins is possible via the shin splint compression wrap from Pro-Tec. Click here for more information.

Don't think that this is the end of running, or the end of exercise. There are plenty of cross-training possibilities, e.g. swimming, running and the gym. It will take an extra ounce of motivation to keep going whilst injured, but consider it a character-building exercise and keep on going!

Andy, if you think that you do not have shin splints, then at least make sure you get this diagnosed by a doctor. Better safe than sorry.

Best of luck and hope you can remediate this issue quickly!

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