Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Shin splints for 4 years?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 4 Replies
  • Posted By: 30something
  • July 28, 2013
  • 03:15 AM

When I was in my late 20s, I began working out and running. Within 6 months, I ran a half marathon, and never had any trouble until this point. About 2 months after the half marathon, I would only run 4-5 miles 4 times per week and my calf muscles would cramp up so much that I had to stop mid run to stretch. This went on/off for a few weeks till I got "shin splints" (dull constant pain on inside lower part of legs). My left was worse than my right and I would wake at night with calf cramps and the dull burn on my inside shins. The periosteum on my left tibia appeared to have separated from my tibia and I have what they said was scar tissue (a lump on inside of my left shin). Then my left ankle began to swell after exercise or at end of workday and had to be elevated. It progressed till I could no longer exercise in any way. I went to an ortho who did an X-ray and saw no stress fracture. He sent me to physical therapy. Well, after 2 different 6 week rounds of physical therapy, I was told my problem was only tight calves and to stretch. Since none of the symptoms got better, my primary care doctor has done the following tests: echocardiogram, abdominal ultrasound, vein study and a muscle test of my calves. No results were yielded and my doctor told me he had no further ideas. I've not exercised or run in since 2009 and began slowly 1 year ago. I've changed shoes, do yoga and stretching religiously and nothing works. When I even do the elliptical now, my left leg, where the missing tissue should be feels like it will snap and my inner shin throbs about 24 hours after any minimal exercise. My ankle also continues to swell on/off. I'm so frustrated and desperate for answers. I'm only 33 and never had these problems. Its been almost 4 years of these symptoms with no answers. I thought about requesting an MRI on my leg to look at the soft tissue. Any advice would be helpful.

Reply Flag this Discussion

4 Replies:

  • I can’t believe I just read your post. About 80% (minus the calf and ankle problems) of it pertains directly to me as I feel I have been experiencing the exact same thing as you. Sorry, I do not have an answer to your post, but rather the same exact questions I would like answered too. I am 29 years old, and ran my first half marathon back in March. I was never really a runner before, but I ate healthy, worked out consistently, and have about 12% body fat. I trained from December-February for the half marathon, topping out at about 10 miles. I ran the half marathon well (at about 2 hours) and came out of it just fine.During my training, I did not run into any problems….sometimes my Achilles tendon would be sore, and my knees would be sore after runs as well, but after icing and rest everything would be fine.Come to think of it, there was one time when I sloppily ran about 4 miles in August and my inside shins felt a “burning” sensation and looked to be bruised. But this healed after rest and it did not come up again during my training. After the marathon, I ran again about 4 miles per week. I also started crossfit in June, which consisted of a lot of heavy core lifting and sprinting. It wasn’t until one hot July 4 mile run where everything started going downhill for me. Because of the heat, I think I ran sloppily, and afterwards I got the burning sensation in my shins again. My inner shins were bruised up too. I rested for a week and continued small runs (anywhere from 2-4 miles per week) but my shins were sore and not improving. It started to become painful just to walk up some stairs, which is when I decided to shut things down. I continued the crossfit but put all running on hold. No more sprints, no more jobs, no nothing. It is now October (so about 2.5 months of no running) and I am just now beginning my marathon training for next March. On Monday, I ran very, very lightly 2 laps. Everything felt fine. However, just today I started feeling the “throbbing” sensation in my inner shins….like a heartbeat…..when I touch my inner shins it feels tender and sore. I’m thinking…OMG, not again. I’ve barely run and my shins are already talking to me. I got some custom made orthotics back in August and wear them everyday……to work, when I do crossfit, and I plan on running with them too. Could these be the cause of my shin pain? Do I actually have stress fractures that I need to rest longer, therefore postponing my marathon challenge next March? Is the crossfit causing all of this pain? Maybe I need to get different running shoes (the shoes I’ve been using are from Village Runner for overpronation, which I have). I too have so many unanswered questions. I am going to meet with a running coach today and job very lightly around a track with him and see what he has to say. IF ANYONE has a similar experience or any advice please let me know. I guess this is frustrating because I was so happy to complete a half marathon and I really want to run the marathon but now it seems like I keep getting setbacks. Regards,TK
    grapplejap 3 Replies
    • October 3, 2013
    • 00:14 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Sorry to hear about your problems. I went back to my ortho who said it sounds like shin splints but they shouldn't have continued so long. He now is thinking it may be compartment syndrome. He ordered a bone scan 2 weeks ago which showed no stress fracture or bone issues. I've gotten up to an entire mile with minimal pain. When I go back I'm going to request an MRI just to rule out anything else before we do surgery for the compartment syndrome. He said compartment syndrome is rare but that's what he's leaning toward. I have noticed an improvement with my minimalist running shoes. After doing lots of research I think this may help and it may help you also. I've read that the custom orthotics and built up shoes can actually hinder you because they alter the way your foot should work naturally. If you don't mind, let me know how it goes with your running coach. I really don't want surgery and would like to exhaust all other options. Best of luck.
    30something 1 Replies
    • October 4, 2013
    • 10:53 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Well, I've got some good news. I met with the running coach about a month ago and he advised that I start off really, really slow. He said always start off by walking 1 lap to get the body warmed up, as opposed to jumping right into a run. He also said, in the beginning, run only on a track where the ground will be much more forgiving as opposed to cement or asphalt. So that day I walked a lap and literally ran just one lap. That's all. He then said to rest one day, and run the next day, and rest again, vice versa. And each time to incrementally increase my distance...from one lap to two laps, to three laps, to four laps etc. He also said to ice my shins where the pain was, every night, even on the nights I don't run. The next thing I did was go to a running shoe store (Village Runner), where the worker was very helpful and patient with me. I explained all the problems I was having and he examined my foot and found the perfect shoe for me (Saucony Omni 12 - perfect for over pronators like myself). He then advised me, NOT to run with my orthotics in since my shoe is already designed for over pronation. Like you mentioned in your previous post, he said running with my orthotics could actually do more damage. That was the first light bulb that went off in my mind....I started having problems with my shins when I began running with my orthotics in. Next, he took me outside and watched me jog a few meters and said to try and not heel strike. He said when I ran my stride was a little long and I was doing the L-strike shape when my heel would hit the ground. I knew this was a problem I had with my form, but nobody really told me how to fix it. He said aim at striking at the ***** of my feet (or close to the front of the foot) and to shorten my stride. He said keep it short and compact and increase the frequency of movement of my arms and legs to increase speed. Here was the 2nd light bulb that went off, this is a new form that should help me prevent future injuries! Well, I am happy to say I have been running the past month pain free. I try to be very careful when running, always focusing on form, and I ran slower too....much slower than before and slower than my half-marathon pace. My running coach said to be patient and once I can run a few miles a few times a week pain free, then I can think about trying to increase my speed. I have run 2.5 miles pain free now and am looking to continue building my mileage up to proper levels so I can complete the LA Marathon next March. I am still a little concerned about what may happen when I try running on asphalt or when I increase my distance to 6, 8, 10+ miles but so far so good. Let's hope these new shoes, along with my new running form and proper rest/icing will help me legs. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know how your legs/training is going as well.
    grapplejap 3 Replies
    • October 23, 2013
    • 08:53 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Well, I've got some good news. I met with the running coach about a month ago and he advised that I start off really, really slow. He said always start off by walking 1 lap to get the body warmed up, as opposed to jumping right into a run. He also said, in the beginning, run only on a track where the ground will be much more forgiving as opposed to cement or asphalt. So that day I walked a lap and literally ran just one lap. That's all. He then said to rest one day, and run the next day, and rest again, vice versa. And each time to incrementally increase my distance...from one lap to two laps, to three laps, to four laps etc. He also said to ice my shins where the pain was, every night, even on the nights I don't run. The next thing I did was go to a running shoe store (Village Runner), where the worker was very helpful and patient with me. I explained all the problems I was having and he examined my foot and found the perfect shoe for me (Saucony Omni 12 - perfect for over pronators like myself). He then advised me, NOT to run with my orthotics in since my shoe is already designed for over pronation. Like you mentioned in your previous post, he said running with my orthotics could actually do more damage. That was the first light bulb that went off in my mind....I started having problems with my shins when I began running with my orthotics in. Next, he took me outside and watched me jog a few meters and said to try and not heel strike. He said when I ran my stride was a little long and I was doing the L-strike shape when my heel would hit the ground. I knew this was a problem I had with my form, but nobody really told me how to fix it. He said aim at striking at the ***** of my feet (or close to the front of the foot) and to shorten my stride. He said keep it short and compact and increase the frequency of movement of my arms and legs to increase speed. Here was the 2nd light bulb that went off, this is a new form that should help me prevent future injuries! Well, I am happy to say I have been running the past month pain free. I try to be very careful when running, always focusing on form, and I ran slower too....much slower than before and slower than my half-marathon pace. My running coach said to be patient and once I can run a few miles a few times a week pain free, then I can think about trying to increase my speed. I have run 2.5 miles pain free now and am looking to continue building my mileage up to proper levels so I can complete the LA Marathon next March. I am still a little concerned about what may happen when I try running on asphalt or when I increase my distance to 6, 8, 10+ miles but so far so good. Let's hope these new shoes, along with my new running form and proper rest/icing will help me legs. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know how your legs/training is going as well.
    grapplejap 3 Replies
    • October 23, 2013
    • 08:54 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
Thanks! A moderator will review your post and it will be live within the next 24 hours.