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View Full Version : Weight Gain Leadings to Shin Pain



midohu
03-16-2010, 09:44 PM
Hi Rip,

I went from a bodyweight of 140 lbs to 220 lbs relatively quickly. (Thank you SS!) But ever since I've been bigger I get a pain in my shins whenever I run. It's along the medial edge of the tibia, about 2/3 down the shin bone, approximately 8-10 inches from the ground if I'm standing.

The pain is not sharp, and persists for 4 or more days after the run. It seems to happen whenever I run 2 miles, do 5 to 10 interval sprints, jump rope for 5 to 10 minutes, or anything involving repeated foot impacts.

Is this pain caused by shin splints? I thought that they were a sharp pain at the front of the shins.

At my lighter bodyweight I used to be able to run without any of these problems. I'm not trying to be a runner. I just want to be able to do some conditioning work that I don't have to go to the gym for, and that won't interfere with my ability to walk for the next few days.

In case it's relevant, I'm 220 lbs, 6 feet, 24 years old, novice, and slightly bow-legged.

Has anyone else who has gained a lot of weight experienced this?

Thanks!

Mark Rippetoe
03-16-2010, 11:19 PM
Repeated foot impacts using poor running mechanics cause shin splints and other lower leg pain, not muscular bodyweight gain.

Stu Hughes
03-16-2010, 11:53 PM
My high school gym teachers never addressed the fact that most people don't know how to run - in my case I'd be surprised if ANYONE learned proper running technique with the oafs I had as teachers.

After a couple months practising Pose running and switching to a forefoot strike, I was literally able to run barefoot on concrete. Not advisable to do this all the time I would think, but at the volume of running I was doing it wasn't an issue.

tallison
03-17-2010, 05:40 AM
It's been my experience that carrying extra weight causes more impact related issues when running. But, hey, maybe "muscle weight" is somewhat different, in that, as so often mentioned, all the tissues involved have strengthened due to the training that led to the muscle weight increase.

When I've been heavier (not necessarily due to more muscle) I've had to pay a lot more attention to the surfaces I ran on to avoid injury (it's pretty incredible what a difference those can make).

As far as mechanics are concerned, there's been a recent craze for "barefoot running" (or simulated barefoot running, with glove-like shoes) that claims to be a huge improvement mechanically, in terms of all sorts of impact-related issues. It might be worth looking into -- lots of fairly compelling anecdotal evidence that it was night-and-day for people with shin splints and joint issues. I've just been biking or rowing for cardio, of late, but I can certainly understand the appeal of running.

hamster
03-17-2010, 06:13 AM
Repeated foot impacts using poor running mechanics cause shin splints and other lower leg pain, not muscular bodyweight gain.

He could have chronic exertional compartment syndrome in the anterior compartment of the lower leg. This might happen if the fascia of the compartment isn't keeping up with the muscle growth.

This can be treated by avoiding running, using ice and NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) to reduce swelling and massage/rolling with the stick to promote flexibility of the fascia lining the compartment.

Rip, I've read before you suspect something similar happens to some people with the erector spinae when people first start deadlifting a lot.

IceCream
03-17-2010, 09:01 AM
I used to be a runner, and yes, those are shin splints. Typically they occur in untrained runners just starting out, but IME increased body weight can aggravate them for awhile, too.

Typically I would get them after resuming running after a layoff following some weight gain. And they always went away as my conditioning improved. But the confounding factor is that I also lost weight as I continued running.

So it's hard to say if the weight loss cured them or just training through the pain for awhile. But I would venture to guess that if you continue running your body will eventually acclimate to the newly acquired load, especially considering your age. Just grunt through it.

jayknow05
03-17-2010, 09:01 AM
Hi Rip,

I went from a bodyweight of 140 lbs to 220 lbs relatively quickly. (Thank you SS!) But ever since I've been bigger I get a pain in my shins whenever I run. It's along the medial edge of the tibia, about 2/3 down the shin bone, approximately 8-10 inches from the ground if I'm standing.

The pain is not sharp, and persists for 4 or more days after the run. It seems to happen whenever I run 2 miles, do 5 to 10 interval sprints, jump rope for 5 to 10 minutes, or anything involving repeated foot impacts.

Is this pain caused by shin splints? I thought that they were a sharp pain at the front of the shins.

At my lighter bodyweight I used to be able to run without any of these problems. I'm not trying to be a runner. I just want to be able to do some conditioning work that I don't have to go to the gym for, and that won't interfere with my ability to walk for the next few days.

In case it's relevant, I'm 220 lbs, 6 feet, 24 years old, novice, and slightly bow-legged.

Has anyone else who has gained a lot of weight experienced this?

Thanks!


As a former XC runner... stay off the sidewalks and roads when you run, buy some new running shoes if you have over 250 miles on your shoes, how hard are you landing on your feet? Often people develop shin pain from running on hard surfaces and "slapping" their feet on the ground.

Try going to your local highschool with an all weather track and run there, or if you'd like run barefoot on the Varsity football field, it tends to have the softest grass around.

In short Rip is absolutely right, 135 pound runners battle shin splints all the time. It is more of a form issue than anything.

Albert987
03-17-2010, 01:43 PM
what is proper running mechanics?


Repeated foot impacts using poor running mechanics cause shin splints and other lower leg pain, not muscular bodyweight gain.

Mark Rippetoe
03-17-2010, 07:45 PM
He could have chronic exertional compartment syndrome in the anterior compartment of the lower leg. This might happen if the fascia of the compartment isn't keeping up with the muscle growth.



Except that his pain is medial along the shin. It's 99% likely to be shin splints, i.e. periosteal irritation of the medial tibia.


what is proper running mechanics?

This is not a running board.

PVC
03-17-2010, 08:14 PM
The pain is not sharp, and persists for 4 or more days after the run. It seems to happen whenever I run 2 miles, do 5 to 10 interval sprints, jump rope for 5 to 10 minutes, or anything involving repeated foot impacts.

A few years ago when I was a runner I realized that I could run for much longer than I had previously thought as long as I ignored the fatigue in my calves and tibialis muscles. Within two runs of trying this method I developed terrible shin splints that took weeks to go away. I had the cardiovascular endurance to run for that long, but my lower leg muscles couldn't handle the beating. I think this is your problem.

Try starting your runs at shorter distances and building up to doing 2 miles so that your lower leg muscles have time to adapt to the workload.

midohu
03-17-2010, 09:17 PM
At least I now know it's almost definitely shin splints.

I'll look into proper running mechanics and follow much of the other great advice given here.

Thanks everyone!