Lower Leg Muscle Tightness

by Geoff
(North Carolina, USA)

I have recently begun running again (39 yrs old, relatively fit and constantly active). My objective is to run about 3 miles at a time. I was doing this once a week with no problem.

The past two runs have been very frustrating. The muscle on my left lower leg to the left of the bone (front of my leg) becomes so tight that after one mile I have to walk.

If I continue to run the back of the leg at the bottom right has a muscle (I think it is a muscle) that becomes painfully sore.

Am I just experiencing the pains of starting up again after about eight months, or does this sound more like a different issue? I am very frustrated as I love to get my heart rate up and as a teacher and father of four boys this is the most effective way to do so on a very limited time budget.

Answer by Dominique:
Hi Geoff,
Thanks for your question. This is a tough one. There are a few different reasons why you are experiencing the lower leg muscle tightness.

One of those reasons is Shin Splints. This usually manifests itself via sharper pains, but this could be a start of it.

Another reason can be that your lower legs are just really, really tight, maybe due to normal daily activities, your posture etc.

Another reason could be that your running shoes are not right for your feet, giving you lower leg problems.

I am currently having a minor medial ligament injury and have visited an osteopath for this. She said that as I was getting older (mid-thirties now) I needed to spend some more time doing my running stretches.

She also said that due to the knee injury, the areas around the knee were very tight and she loosened up my calves and hamstrings really well. So, it may be that some other issue in your body causes your lower legs to tighten up this much.

So you see, there could be quite a bit going on. You may benefit from visiting an osteopath or massage therapist to loosen up your lower legs. If I were you, I would also make sure I'd visit a specialised running shoe store, just to make sure that you have got the right shoes for your foot type.

I hope you can fit that all in your busy schedule. I have got only two kids and I already feel like I am running out of time all the time!

Best of luck.
Enjoy your running / moments of solitude ;)
Kind regards,

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