Running shoes for painful running
May 28, 2005 6:28 AM   Subscribe

For as long as I can remember, I haven't been able to run for more than a minute or two without pain in my shins. I just got orthotics, and they are helping a little. Are there any running shoes that could help me with this?

Every time I run, I do fine for about two minutes--but then I have terrible pain in the very bottom of my shins. I'm not sure what it is, but I can recreate the effect by keeping my heel flat on the floor while rotating my foot upwards. After running for only a minute or two I can't do this any longer. This pain has kept me from running for exercise, something I'd love to do this summer.

Recently I went to a podiatrist who outfitted me with a pair of orthotics. They have really helped my walking, and have actually changed my gait somewhat from a kind of 'duck-walk' to something more elegant. But they haven't really helped with running, in part, I suspect, because I don't have proper running shoes--the only sneakers I own are very hard-soled and for hiking.

Has anyone else experienced this? Are there running shoes or stretching exercises I could do to help me out? I saw the other shin splints thread, but there aren't really any recommendations about what kinds of shoes I should be looking for. I'm really just looking for any advice in general, too.
posted by josh to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
you'd be better asking your podiatrist. or, if they don't know much about sports, some kind of medical person associated with sports (best place i found was a clinic that had a bunch of people with different qualifications, including osteopath and physiotherapist, and which specialised in sports).

if you can't do that, try asking at good local running store (somewhere that isn't a foot-locker et al - where the owner is someone who runs. if you don't know of anywhere, try finding a local running club and asking them where they recommend).

but, if you just want random advice from strangers, here's mine - my worst experiences with shin splints has been with poorly padded shoes. so you might find that better padded shoes help. you should replace the inner sole with with your orthotics. exactly which shoe depends on exactly how your foot moves when you run. i personally use asics cumulus - they have good padding, both under the heel and the forefoot, and are quite wide, but they don't correct for over or under-pronation. a good shop would be able to tell you if you over/under pronate.

you might also vary your running style. you are probably striking heel first. you may find that landing on your fore/mid foot, and then rolling in and back helps. but if you do that, take things gently as you will be putting more strain on your calf/achilles tendon and also on the bones in your forefoot. never increase distance/time by more than 10% a week, and try to keep below 5%.

for more information, try glover + schuder's "competitive runner's handbook" (assuming it's still in print). note that they warn against a well padded heel if you have shin splints.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:57 AM on May 28, 2005

It helps to strengthen the thin, long muscles along your shins. You can do this by walking on the tips of your heels (as opposed to the tips of your toes) - that is,walk on your heels with your toes pointed up - for about 5 minutes every day. Do it while you are brushing your teeth before you go to bed. It sound weird, but it works.
posted by sic at 7:28 AM on May 28, 2005

My Uncle is a retired collegiate baseball coach and used to be a daily runner.

Recently, when we talked, I asked him about the New Balance running shoes he was sporting. He said his doctor recommended them. Uncle said they "were for fat people" :)

Ontario Podiatric Medical Association Article mentioning New Balance

Physiology Article
posted by drakepool at 7:38 AM on May 28, 2005

I tried to take up running last summer, but like you, I couldn't run more than a few minutes without my shins hurting like hell. I assumed shin-splints -- and tried ice, heat, new shoes, stretching, etc, but the problem never got better. I finally saw my doc, and he diagnosed compartment syndrome. Completely different from shin-splints, and more painful, and requiring different treatment. The key to knowing the difference between shin-splints and compartment syndrom, it seems, is that the latter will almost always result in a strange sort of "numbness" along the lower shins after a few minutes. IANAD, but this may be what's going on with you. Good luck.
posted by davidmsc at 7:41 AM on May 28, 2005

Get yourself a good motion control running shoe. Don't worry about padding so much as motion control. It will be well padded enough. New Balance and Brooks make good motion control shoes.
posted by caddis at 6:31 PM on May 28, 2005

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