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Beginner Running

After run, right leg only hurts.

asked about 3 years ago | Report

This question has probably been asked a million times but I'm at a loss and my google powers are not sufficient.

I'm 5'11" 250 lbs..big guy. I'm a beginner runner and have been running for about a month and a half. On average I go 1.5 to 2 miles. Everything started out fine until after about the 3rd-4th time I went out (I run about 3 times a week) I notice that my right calf/shin was so sore that I had to stop and walk back. The next day it was bad enough that I had a limp whenever I put pressure on my toe or pushed off.

It's been like this literally every time that I've gone out for a run since. I can't go more than two miles if I want to walk the next day and it takes about 48 hours after my run to stop hurting and feel ok. This means I can only run 3 times a week. That's pretty counter-productive to my attempts to lose weight through running.

I looked through some anatomical diagrams and it feels like it's the soleus muscle or right around that area. I thought maybe it was just conditioning related and that I should build up strength but now it's almost two months later and I have the same problem. I thought it may be my shoes since I'm flat footed. I went out and bought a pair of nikes that were recommended by a flat foot site I found on google...no help. I thought maybe I needed more arch support so I bought some heel cups that are supposed to help flat foot. I can't tell the difference between before and after. I do some 'wall pushups' and other warmups for my calves before running but that doesn't seem to help my right leg.

Every time I run my left leg feels great. It's always the right leg and always the same spot. If I point my foot outward it doesn't hurt. If i pull my foot/toes in it hurts in the same place.

If anyone has any ideas please help. I really want to run more often and further because I enjoy it.

9 answers

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  • not a doc so i turn to runnerworld and go w/ this article
    http://www.runnersworld.com/cda/toolscontent/0,7156,s6-241-290-291-6900-0,00.html?toolName=What Hurts?

    answered about 3 years ago |Report

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  • looks like shinsplints to me.. but again, not a doctor.. you might want to research those though..

    also, stretch AFTER and not only before running.

    answered about 3 years ago |Report

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  • A couple thoughts:

    - For a new runner, I'd suggest a maximum of running 3x per week. So I understand it is frustrating because you want to run more, but there is a lot of conditioning that has to happen to be able to run on consecutive days without opening yourself up to injury. So you are doing good there :)
    - From what I just saw (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_5/196.shtml), it looks like that muscle (if you diagnosed it correctly) aches due to overuse. It may be that even 3x per week is too much.
    - Did you start out of the gate with running 1.5 - 2 miles? If so, you may have set yourself up for injury during the first week or two by overstressing your body, and it has never had a chance to heal, let alone build up conditioning. If you started right off the bat with 1 mile or more, I'd suggest the couch to 5k program. Yes, it'll be kinda boring because it starts with less than one minute of running - but there are many body 'systems' (cardio, muscular, skeletal, etc) involved in running, and you can only push as much as the weakest one will allow. Sometimes that means building up a single muscle or ligament when everything else in your body is perfectly fine.
    - If you know you have an issue with your feet (flat feet, over pronation, under pronation), find a local running store and get fitted with a shoe after they've checked your running form. As a DM'er recently suggested - look for the old crusty guy/gal there who looks like they've been around a while. Chances are they'll have far more experience than the college age kid who works there on the weekends.
    - Like Fadi said - stretch *after* the run as well. After that, ice the painful area after you go for a run, ideally within 10-15 minutes of stopping.
    - Rest: take a week, or two, or three, off of running. Continue the wall pushups to stretch the calfs - but also try doing a few sets of calf raises in the meantime every day. Basically, try to rehab and build up the muscle while you are taking a break from running.

    Have you dont any other activities in your past that might have contributed to your left leg being stronger than your right?

    answered about 3 years ago |Report

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  • I had the same issue when I started running, in exactly the same spot. To reach ones goals when running, one must be able to run without that kind of pain. The short term "loss" from taking it easy, will be taken care of when your legs are strong enough to run without injury. Run 2 times a week if you have to...or even once. When your soleus muscle hurts, dont run. Rest till it feels better and then run, but only till it starts to hurt. It will get stronger and you will be able to run further. Just be patient. Running has to be about the long term or it can get very discouraging. Keep it up and ice those shins each night. As you learn to listen to your body, it will reward you and then you will be able to get the miles it to reach your personal goals.

    answered about 3 years ago |Report

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  • ^^

    Do what he says. The 'been there, done that' factor is highly regarded.

    answered about 3 years ago |Report

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  • too much too soon back off rest is when your body respond to exercise cut down on distance until everything catches up a day or two now could save a week or two further down the line

    answered about 3 years ago |Report

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  • I am no expert, but it sounds like an injury rather than a problem with your muscle strength, shoes, etc. I would recommend only walking until your pain subsides. It may take longer, but you can burn just as many calories walking. Or perhaps you will find that you can do some other exercise such as cycling without hurting your calf. If you can keep up the exercise and allow your leg to heal, it won't take long to get back to your normal running.

    answered about 3 years ago |Report

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  • Agreed with Ryan and Sheldon. Also, if you feel completely compelled to move the miles. Tamie's walking suggestion is definitely a decent alternative. The best thing you can do for yourself is to listen to your body.

    answered about 3 years ago |Report

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  • it takes a long time to get all the niggles out of your body so that it can run regularly. Fortunately, 95% of running injuries get better with just backing off or resting. don't give up. View each injury as a challenge to overcome. For the Soleus (a common injury that I've had myself), consider a heating pad or hot tub. Easy stretching and massage to break up the scar tissue as it heals. Soleus muscle tears do heal well. it takes them between a couple weeks and a couple months, depending on the severity.

    answered about 3 years ago |Report

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