Important Update: Calorie Count will be shutting down on March 15th. Please click here to read the announcement. Data export is available.
Moderators: melkor

Runners/Joggers, why do my shin bones hurt when I jog?

Quote  |  Reply

Hi all.  Sorry if this has been asked and answered but... I'm 42/f 174lbs, 5'6" and I've been 'speed walking'.  But, when I try to jog short distances and especially if I sprint my shin bones ache, a lot!  Why?  Am I doing it wrong? 

And they still hurt now, 8 hours later!  When I touch them it feels really sore and achy, like when you have a bad bruise.  I'm walking fine now, they just hurt when I rub my hand up & down the front of my legs from the knees to my ankles.  Any suggestions?

Thanks for any info.


11 Replies (last)

Two words: shin splints

You have probably overused your tibia muscle, which is one of the weakest  muscles in the body. It runs up the front of your shin and is used to raise up your foot/toes. Try sitting with your foot off the ground, and flex your ankle so that your toes rise upward. If that is extremely sore/tender/painful, you probably have shin splints. Running and jumping can aggrevate the problem. Rest until you are no longer sore. Try building up slowly to running in the future. Since you already "speed walk", try alternating between walking/running. Start with short run durations (20 seconds) broken up by longer walking durations (3 minutes). Increase the running durations while decreasing the walking durations over 3-4 weeks until you are running 100% of the time.

Also, make sure you're using a good pair of running shoes that are in good condition.  A ratty pair of shoes with worn-out insoles will place greater strain on your body, and can lead to pain and injury.

I experienced bad shin splints when I played soccer and we would switch fields from grass to turf.  My coach explained that our bodies were adjusting to the difference in the ground (grass being softer than the turf).  Are you always running on the streets?  The hard concrete may be to hard on your body at first and if you can, maybe try to find a trail or a track to run around?
I also experience a HUGE difference in my shoes.  When I was training for a 5K a couple years ago, I was experiencing a lot more soreness than I thought.  My friend, who was an avid runner, asked how long I had my running shoes.  I told her that I had them for a couple years, which I guess is really bad.  Since they didn't look worn down (probably because I didn't work out on a regular basis), I never thought that I needed to replace them.  But she told me I should be replace my shoes at least once a year, even if they still look brand new.  The support wears out a lot easier than you think!
Hope that helps.

Thanks you guys that does help.  I'm running more cross country, up and down the hills, etc.  But I only just started running 2 wks ago, I think. 

Do you think Jason that my tibia muscle is just weak or under-developed from non use?  And can I strengthen it by consistently sprinting the short durations?  When I raise my toes up it doesn't hurt or is painful at all.  Just when I'm running/jogging, you know. And I really want to learn to run.  Runners look sexy!

And thanks Erin, I'm checking out some new shoes this weekend!


When I had them while in the Army, the PT had me tap my toes with my heels on the ground. It was another way to strengthen the tibia muscle without actually running on it. 

I had a similar (excruciating) pain when I was a jogger in high school (for exercise not athletic ).  I started training for 5K 6 weeks ago (I am 30 now) and I fully expected this pain to return but it has not.  I think that it is because I am trying very hard to follow proper running form whereas in high school I had no clue. 

Check out the running tips here -- comment 913.


What sort of hills are you trying to tackle? Long climbs or even shorter steep climbs could certainly be the cause. Do you have some flatter terrain that you can run on for a couple more weeks until you build up some more strength?

agree w contrary. tapping your feet strengthens. since you have shin splints. ice ice and more ice.

Be sure to stretch your calfs well.  often tight calf muscles are an underlying cause of shin splints
Jason, it's actually like rolling pastures.  I've been running mostly on flat areas, but I'm challenging myself by sprinting up the steeper inclines. 
I have suffered shin splints on and off for several years.  Mostly, I think, when I am first starting a new training program, but sometimes I get them randomly.

I went to a podiatrist and got orthotics.  If you have good insurance, check that out.

At the very least, I'd recommend you go to a specialty running store and get your feet fitted for a good, quality running shoe.  I have really high arches, which means I run on the outside of my feet, which means I need shoes to help me compensate for that (plus orthotics).

Start training slowly, alternate between jogging and walking for periods of time and build-up.

Put some water in paper cups in your freezer and use those to ice down your shins post-run (or any other sore areas).

Stretch, especially those calves.

If you run on streets, try for asphalt, which is softer than concrete sidewalks.

Try to run every other day as you build up, and do a lesser impact activity on the days in between.

Hope those help!  Shin splints (and stomach cramps) can totally ruin a run.
Quote  |  Reply
I'm a new runner and my husband has suggested concentrating on form when I get shin splints -- specifically, trying to roll my feet rather than run flat-footed.  It seems to help.

11 Replies