Pain on Inside of Left Calf

by Kristen
(Tennessee)

Several months ago I began a exercise regimen that included walking 3 miles. Over a period of 6 weeks I worked up from walking to running. Over a period of 3 weeks I was went from a combination of walking/running 3 miles to running the entire 3 miles.

In the next 2 weeks of doing the 3 mile run 3 to 4 times a week I began to have pain on the inside of my left calf, mid point of the lower leg where the muscle attaches to the shin. It is very localized pain. I then injured my back and was out for 6 weeks, no running or walking.

Three weeks ago I began walking 2 miles, and last week began running/walking. I am running about 1 to 1.5 miles of it. In the last run the pain in my inside calf is back. It is sore to the touch, feels somewhat tight. I am running on sidewalk, in a moderate hilly residential neighborhood.

After having been out for 6 weeks I thought whatever it was would have healed. Any ideas on what is happening?


Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thanks for your question. I can be wrong here (it is often hard to diagnose properly via just a bit of text) but I think you have got yourself a shin splint.

This kind of running injury happens most often to new runners, people running on hilly terrain or runners with the wrong shoes. You might qualify for all three groups, but at least for the first two!

Shin splints are annoying and hard to get rid off. Some things you can do:

Ice your legs to reduce inflammation.

What is very important to battle shin splints is stretching. You can do this via heel raises and heel drops, also see the running stretches-page for more information. Or you can simply walk on your heels and walk on your toes. You need to stretch these muscles religiously. Every day, few times a day. You want to increase flexibility and strength of those lower-leg muscles to make sure your lower legs are better equipped against the stress you put them under.

I would also recommend you to get your shoes checked out. Go to a proper running store where they do a foot check before they try to sell you anything. The foot check will tell you what foot type you have and what shoes are best for your feet.

While you are battling this injury consider some cross-training possibilities you can do to help build your fitness like bike riding, swimming, aerobics.

When you return to running, use the approach you have used before: start off gently. If possible, find a non-hilly part in your neighbourhood, maybe a park or something with grass underground. Try to reduce the impact on those lower legs of yours as much as possible.

I hope this helps.
Kind regards,
Dominique

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