Frustrated runner

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I have been running for a few years now. I have run some half marathons and my first full last year. I am currently struggling with what feels like a shin splint in my left leg only. I changed my shoes about 2 months ago. This has just started happening about 2 weeks ago. I went for a massage last week, my calves were very tight. My first run after my massage same thing. The "Charlie horse" starts about a half a km into my run. Today I was so frustrated I decided to keep going. Stopping frequently to stretch and massage the area. I got through about 5 km and it finally eased up. I was able to get another 5km in without incident! Please any suggestions are welcome. I must add that I have not increased my distance or speed by anymore than 10%.

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  • DancingMoosie
    DancingMoosie Posts: 8,619 Member
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    Perhaps the shoe change is the culprit? Also, you mention 2-3 different problems: shin splints and tight calves(plus Charlie horse). Did you take much of a break after the marathon? I'd err on the side of caution and rest more, ice the problem areas, stretch. If it isn't improving, see a doctor.
  • H_Ock12
    H_Ock12 Posts: 1,152 Member
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    Since stretching and warming up helped during your run, I'd have a PT or running mechanics specialist look at the muscle tightness of that leg vs the one not giving you cramps and shin pain.
  • Joanna2012B
    Joanna2012B Posts: 1,448 Member
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    Charlie horse I mean shin splints, at least from what I have read that is what it feels like. I took quite a bit of time off after my marathon.

    Thanks for the responses.
  • Cherimoose
    Cherimoose Posts: 5,209 Member
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    Try stretching your calves every hour for 30+ seconds. Use a reminder app if you forget to do it hourly. Post an update in a few days.
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,248 Member
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    Why did you change your shoes? I've always been an "if it ain't broke" kind of runner. Is the heel drop the same?

    You mentioned that you took quite a bit of time off after the marathon. Did you jump back in at too high a volume?
  • lporter229
    lporter229 Posts: 4,907 Member
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    My first thought would be the shoe change...
  • DancingMoosie
    DancingMoosie Posts: 8,619 Member
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    A Charlie horse is a really bad muscle cramp. Shin splints are a sore tibialis muscle pulling away from the tibia. Are you literally having bad muscle cramps on the front of your shins? AND tight calves? When you got new shoes, were they a different brand or style, or the same as the old ones?
  • Joanna2012B
    Joanna2012B Posts: 1,448 Member
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    I changed my shoes because it was time to replace my old ones. I had a pair of New Balance that I really liked, however, they discontinued them and I have been struggling to find a pair that I really like again so I was recommended Brooks. I have limited choices as I have a wide foot. I am thinking that I need to go back to New Balance. I am not sure if they heel drop was the same. I eased back into running after my time off after my marathon. It is a bad muscle cramp on the front of my shins, which when I first started running was told that was shin splints. I can massage it out and then get back to running, but the cramp comes back. I stay hydrated, so I know it's not that. I do have tight calves. I stretch and foam roll often, but that doesn't always help. I think what I will try is going back to New Balance shoes and see if it continues.
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,600 Member
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    everything you are describing sounds like a change in running stride due to different drop in shoes

    do you remember the name of the new balance brand you had and the brooks ones you have now?
  • MaltedTea
    MaltedTea Posts: 6,286 Member
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    I'll never respond to one of these posts without first highly recommending a specialist (and/or eating more fiber) lol So, for this situation (which is similar to an issue I had back when training up for a marathon), I'd suggest consulting a foot doctor.

    For me, the culprit was a mix of flat feet/no arches which affected my stride and the slightest hip misalignment that was coming to the fore since I was weightlifting and running. All that to say, I recall being struck most by the podiatrists' comment that an issue in your leg (or lower back) doesn't necessarily stem from the place where you're having pain.
  • icemom011
    icemom011 Posts: 999 Member
    edited February 2020
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    The cramps on the front of my shins (as well as in calves and foot arch) torment me at night. I'm a cyclist though, not a runner. I only have huge sympathy for you, op. No answers. I went to doctor, asked my physical therapist, tried to take extra calcium and magnesium, potassium. It remains the same. I got temporary reprieve from it in the beginning of upping calcium/ magnesium supplement, but then it came back. It's awfully painful with no quick way of stopping the cramp. I hope you find a solution. Fwiw, mine are in right shin, and according to my power meter it's my weaker leg. And i try to bring it back up to before injury levels. Spinal injury.
    ETA. I believe stretching is helpful, it seems to decrease the frequency and severity of cramps. I try to stretch after rides, but probably should stretch more on off days too.



  • lightenup2016
    lightenup2016 Posts: 1,055 Member
    edited February 2020
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    If you’re talking about a sore muscle pain along the inside length of your shin, that’s what I know as shin splints. I’ve had my share of them over my 25 years of running. They usually crop up when I’m doing too much too soon, or sometimes with a different foot strike, like going on the treadmill after mostly outdoor running. Or possibly from a change in shoes. If you don’t think you’ve increased speed and/or distance too quickly, I’d recommend having your running stride checked out. A lot of dedicated running stores can give great advice regarding gait, foot strike, arch support, etc. I used to have flat arches and needed shoes with a strong arch support, like Brooks Ariel. Now, after years of walking barefoot on my treadmill desk, I actually have arches, and can wear lighter, “neutral” shoes. Good luck!

    ETA: I also get these when my shoes go flat, but if you have a new pair then I assume that’s not it (unless the new ones don’t cushion as much as the old). Also, from my experience, you can’t just try different things and see if you feel the shin splints again—they have to heal first before you can test out new things to figure it out.
  • mbaker566
    mbaker566 Posts: 11,233 Member
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    it could be a drop issue. brooks seem to typically be a bit higher with their popular shoes 10-12mm
    after getting fitted for NB this weekend, found out they are mostly 8mm
    but it's not large enough a difference that most people wouldn't notice. but it could be it....
    speaking as a nonprofessional...
    foam rolling, rest days, slow down.
    were you fitted for these new shoes? they might not be the right shoe for your feet.
  • Joanna2012B
    Joanna2012B Posts: 1,448 Member
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    Wow you guys are great and I love all the feedback. I think I still have my old shoes. I'll take a look when I get home. Reading what you all have to say I am thinking that it could very well be the shoes. I did have them fitted by a professional at a running store. I think I did better selecting shoes on my own...LOL!! If I can find my old shoes I will run in them on Thursday to see how they feel. Of course the shoes I am wearing now are not very old and don't have many miles on them....so of course my husband (non runner) is going to give me a hard time for new shoes again!!!! :D
  • moonangel12
    moonangel12 Posts: 971 Member
    edited February 2020
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    I was able to find a pair of “slightly used” shoes to replace my running shoes when they went kaput. (ETA: sane model, even though t was discontinued a year prior). It was an online shoe store and the bottoms looked like someone wore them once, maybe just tried them on. For less than a third of the price it was worth the gamble. I was having major shin splint issues in my old ones, getting new ones helped. I tried running in my old ones one rainy night, not a good plan.
  • Duck_Puddle
    Duck_Puddle Posts: 3,237 Member
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    It does sound like the shoe change. Also keep in mind that a professional shoe fitting will analyze your gait, measure your shoe and suggest the shoe or shoes that match up. Meaning they know which shoes are good for which levels of pronation, which shoes have wide and/or high toe-boxes, narrow heels, etc. They will ask you about your preference for cushioning. They will suggest something (or several things) that match. It doesn’t mean that every one is in right for you.

    FWIW-I have a wide (short) foot, PF, a neuroma, and a weird sort of semi-overpronation. The only shoes that work for me are a wide-width Saucony (that is pretty wide to begin with) with an aftermarket insert. I wear a New Balance model for shorter runs. I wear Altra for trails. Every fitting I get suggests Brooks (which have consistently been the worst for me), with New Balance as a distant second (although not the New Balance shoe that I do use for shorter runs).

    So my point is just that there are a lot of shoes out there and a professional fitting can get you started and is better than a wild stab in the dark and/or picking by color or by what some random person happens to like. But it doesn’t mean it’s a perfect match every time.
  • Joanna2012B
    Joanna2012B Posts: 1,448 Member
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    I will try a different running professional for my next shoe fitting. I have always had good luck with New Balance. I didn't even know that Saucony had a wide shoe.
  • Joanna2012B
    Joanna2012B Posts: 1,448 Member
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    Update... I ran in my old shoes. Same thing happened....awful charlie horse. Only I was able to stretch it and massage it out once and it didn't come back. I will try again.
  • Cherimoose
    Cherimoose Posts: 5,209 Member
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    Did you try the hourly calf stretching?
  • Joanna2012B
    Joanna2012B Posts: 1,448 Member
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    Cherimoose wrote: »
    Did you try the hourly calf stretching?

    I have been stretching several times a day. It may not be hourly, but a lot more than I usually do!!
    :)