Posted by: Blaine | 2008/09/25

Running stress fractures in shins

I have been suffering form shin splints / stress fractures for a while. I have been following the advice of weeks of rest and mild non-impact gym exercise in the meantime. I have been off running for 9 weeks now. When I walk there is no pain, neither when I walk down stairs etc, however the area in front of my shins (towards the top and bottom of the shin to be specific) is still a bit tender when i push on it. I have been given a very slow gradual build-up running recovery programme for when I can start running again. My question is must I wait until all tenderness is gone before I start my recovery programme? Or can I start it now seeing as there is no pain, just a bit of tenderness? Blaine

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Our expert says:
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HI Blaine

Difficult one. Pain is a guide to something that is wrong, but sometimes, you have to encounter some pain to progress. My advice is to judge the 'character' of the pain - if it's severe, then obviously stop, but if you can manage it, then keep going. But very important, if the pain gets worse during training, or is suddenly a lot worse when you finish training, then look at it as a sign of something more than just tenderness. It should not change over the course of the run. That's the key. What sometimes will happen is that you'll feel pain to start with, then it disappears, and then returns at the end. That's OK (not great, but OK). But if it's much worse, or comes back suddenly and is more severe, then rather back off.

Good luck

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