Lower leg pain in runners is amongst the most common type of injury sustained by those who run. This is especially true in the early days when just starting out running. Lower leg pain in runners is a frequent cause of people stopping running before they have really got going with it. This is easy to understand as it is often difficult to overcome, but it can be done with the right help and corrections.
Lower leg pain in runners is usually due to overuse injuries which develop gradually with no apparent cause, although can include ankle sprains from twisting the ankle over a paving stone, curb or tree root!
Due to their close proximity to the foot, foot biomechanics are often involved in the development of these overuse conditions, as are tight calf muscles and so the first step when you feel a lower leg pain is to consider your footwear and to step up the calf stretching!
Lower leg pain in runners often affects muscles or tendons which travel down into the foot and so foot pain is sometimes also felt.
Conditions Causing Lower Leg Pain in Runners
the term ‘shin splints’ is pretty outdated now and could actually suggest many different injuries. What most people would think of as shin splints is more accurately referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome. This is the most common cause of lower leg pain in runners….more
Compartment syndromes occur due to an increase in pressure within a ‘compartment’ of the lower leg. This is usually an overuse injury although can be as a result of a direct impact to the leg….more
Achilles tendinopathy / tendonitis / tendinitis / tenosynovitis / tenovaginitis are are forms of overuse injury which affect the achilles tendon and another pretty common form of lower leg pain in runners. There are minor differences in what these terms all actually mean, but tendinopathy is a blanket term used to cover them all – as in practice it is near on impossible to determine between them….more
Sprained ankles are not as common in running as in other sports which require more sudden changes of direction, but they can still occur, especially in trail running, cross country events and when mis-judging a curb stone! Inversion sprains are most common and involve twisting the ankle outwards and damaging the lateral (outer) ligaments….more
Calf Tightness when Running
Tight and painful calf muscles is really common in new runners especially and can often deter them from continuing. But there are numerous things you can do to combat this problem….more
Shin Stress Fractures
Shin, or Tibial stress fractures are small breaks in the shin bone which develop gradually through repeated impacts. They are sometimes referred to as hairline fractures and often ignored initially as the lower leg pain experienced can easily be confused with ‘shin splints’….more
A degenerative condition affecting the tendons on the outer ankle. Especially common in those who excessively pronate or supinate, or who have suffered recent, or recurrent ankle sprains….more
Tibialis Posterior Tendinopathy
The Tibialis Posterior muscle is a calf muscle found deep inside the lower leg. The tendon passes down behind and underneath the inner ankle bone. It can become painful in runners, especially those who overpronate….more