Shin Splint Pain

I have been doing cross-country and track since I was in year 3 at the age of 7 and it was fine until 3 years ago. At first it was only a dull pain but the more I trained each week it got a lot worse. It got to the point where I could only manage to perform 20-30 minutes of slow running. It got so bad that even when I was walking to and from college it was killing me.

The pain is in the front of my shins. I haven't been to my doctor because I haven't got time to be honest I've got uni and all my revision/studying and then I have to get in my sports and exercise sessions but I just wanted to know if I have got shin splints, something worse or if I'm just over-reacting.

I mean nobody listens to me when I say about being injured and I've only ever said it once to my football coach who said I had a sprain but it turned out to be that it was a chip of the bone but I don't overexaggerate any injury to be honest. I lie about the small things but when I know it's serious I tell someone.

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your question about your leg pains. One of the things that a cross-country coach at some point during your years in high school and college should have emphasized is that pain is not good. Sure you can have a little muscle pain here or there because you are exploring your limits. That's fine.

Sharp pains, pains that do not allow you to run for more than 20-30 minutes and stuff that is killing you when you are just walking are in a different category. Alarm bells should go off. It means you have an injury and that you need to rest.

It sounds like you have endured the pain all that time without seeking treatment. This has very likely aggravated the issue and makes recovery a much longer process.

Pain in the front of the shins is very likely to be shin splints. Regardless of the name of the condition I would stop running immediately and start icing the area where you have your lower leg pain. Given you have been walking around with this issue for a long time, I would encourage you to go see a doctor as well. Make sure you explain that you have had this pain for years.

I don't have the time to go to a doctor is a bit of a weak excuse. Stop being a hero, ignoring the issue will not make it go away. Anyway, you should have more time available as you should stop doing any running training immediately.

Cross-training is still possible though, be it in the form of bike riding, swimming and/or weight training. You may need to explore what your lower leg can handle in terms of other exercise.

Hope this helps and I hope you will try to fix this. Six months of recovery now is better than ignoring the issue and having pain with every step you take for the rest of your life.

Kind regards,

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