Calf and foot pain

The grisly details and tales of the road back

Bruce Kidd
Posts: 797
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:43 pm
Location: Ottawa

Calf and foot pain

Postby newbie » Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:40 pm

I have been battling really bad shin splints for over 2 years now and it's getting to the point that I want to quit running altogether since I can not figure out the issue. It started just after I ran my first marathon in 2016, I had never has this issue before. I took the summer off because I was tired and just needed a break plus we bought a cottage. I started back that fall and after the first run approx. 5 k I could not walk and my calfs, shins and the front of my ankle were all throbbing and very tight. I I figured it was just because I had been off for awhile, I struggled along that fall and winter and nothing changed. I saw a physio all winter who worked on my hips because she said that was root cause. I changed shoes to a stability shoe and things felt a little better and I made it through a 10k clinic. That fall I was registered for the army run, I saw a message therapist and she said my calfs were really tight. On recommendation I went to see a sports doc at Carleton university because my family dr thought it might be compartment syndrome. He ruled that out right away and sent me for a bone scan and MRI to rule out a stress fracture. I got clearance to run 2 days before the army run and with the help of my message therapist finished the 15k barely. I then took another Winter off and in the spring decided to for a gait analysis, filmed me and said I no longer heel strike but forefoot strike and recommended orthotics to not correct anything but to off load the strain off my calfs and shins. I tried unsuccessfully over the next few months to get back and same issue everytime. After about 1-2k excruciating shin pain, I can usually walk it off and I am fine but I would like to get back to running 1/2 marathons.

Anyone have any suggestions??? Note I did try dry needling and am taking magnesium supplements every day
Next up:

Feb 2015 - Castaway Key 5k
March 2015 - St. Patrick's Day 10k
May 2015 - ORW 1/2 Marathon

User avatar
Tom Longboat
Posts: 253
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2005 7:19 pm

Re: Calf and foot pain

Postby narr » Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:33 am

Hi newbie,

I would suggest that you start with less than you know you can do and gradually increase from there.
I suggest that you read about Chi running. It is mumbo-jumbo, but it makes you think about your posture and your foot plant.

Landing heel first leads to tight shins.
Landing on the forefoot leads to tight calves.
I would aim for a midfoot plant.

I am continually amazed at the mileage people do starting back from a period of none running or after an injury.
How about you wait until your shins aren't sore and your calves are loose and flexible. Then go for a walk and somewhere in the middle of the walk, jog between two telephone poles. A couple of days later, make it two or three telephone poles. Enjoy the walk and in a controlled painless manner, gradually get a feel for what you can do.

I had run marathons too, and at one point I had IT band issues that prevented me from running 200 meters. I literally had to walk home after 200 meters. I saw all kinds of people and I don't think any of them helped. What helped was time and starting out with less than I knew I could do. I went on to the two best marathons of my life. Don't lose hope.

I hope this helps,

narr = not a real runner

Running is a privilege.

Bill Crothers
Posts: 3463
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Calf and foot pain

Postby Dstew » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:46 pm

I suffered my stress fracture in 2005. The calf muscles will flare up every so often at or around the site of the fracture. What has worked is a simple shin splint brace/ wrap. I will apply an anti inflammatory gel before the run and then after. Mine will flare up if I get overly ambitious with regards to pace and/or distance. I ran two Boston marathons with this issue, a 50 K road race, 4 other marathons and over 20 trail races. All of the longer races where with a tape job my physio taught me. I have found K tape of my right hip and lower back and now tricep muscle tear but have not used it on the shin as a Runners Room "splint/brace/velco wrap thingy" seems to work well for me. ... n%20splint

I also have the board and the plastic version:*

As noted, with anti inflammatory gels and the right brace or tape job, stretching and breaks, you might be able to do a half marathon. Massage, physio with dry needling, etc, etc, etc and in 13 years, it always comes back. So now I limit myself to more a 9 K max jog. But as noted, I did a lot more than that for years and it never seemed to completely go away but on the other hand, was never bad enough to impact me other than when running.

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