Shooting pains in shins

Dr Mark Porter / 10 January 2017

Dr Porter advises a reader who experiences shin pain after jogging.

Q: I have recently started to jog twice a week having not exercised for many years but am getting shooting pains up my shins during and after runs. Is this because I'm unfit or because I'm wearing the wrong footwear? I'm in reasonably good shape otherwise!

A: This sounds like classic “shin splints” – a poorly understood problem thought to be due to the repeated impact of running, and very common in novices taking up the sport for the first time.

I suggest you switch to a bike for a couple of weeks to give your legs a rest and seek expert advice on your footwear from a goods sport shoe shop – only wear a purpose-made running shoe and ideally change them every 300-400 or so miles (so every 6-9 months if you run 10 miles a week).

You might want to also consider switching to grass and cross-country runs after the two weeks' rest as this is likely to cause much less jarring on the legs than running on tarmac and pavements. And, lastly, if you use a treadmill, avoid running on a gradient (uphill) – personal experience suggests to me that this puts more strain on the muscles around the shin, and can also aggravate lower back problems.

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