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I used to skip in the passed, but always ended up stopping after a week when I could no longer handle the pain in the lower legs, i.e. knees, shins, feet. Looking at these diagrams from Foottrainer.com:

enter image description here

I would say, most of the pains are at or close to the:

  • Plantar aponeurosis
  • Calcaneal tendon
  • Tibialis anterior
  • Plus knee pains (which seem to be under the knee caps, at the inner sides of the knees)

Will getting better footwear get rid of the buildup of pain, or do I need to do leg/feet specific stretching/warmups/cooldowns to stop the pain buildup?

In the past, I used to warm my legs up on the stationary bike, but did not do any stretching.

So I don't know if the pain was because of the footwear, lack of leg/feet specific stretching or a combination of both?

Note: I am not in pain at the moment, the pain starts 1 day after jumping rope, and after that day, if I continue every day or every other day, the pain would continue to increase. It would take over a week of no jumping rope for the pains to subside.

  • Where does it hurt at your knee? The front, medial, lateral? The tendons or the bone? – Ivo Flipse Mar 25 '11 at 12:28
  • Can't find an image to show this, but it seems to happen under the knee caps, but to the inner sides of the legs/knees. – oshirowanen Mar 25 '11 at 12:47
  • No problem at all. Even though I find jumping rope painful, I still find it to be the most non chore like cardio, i.e. I almost enjoy it, which is why I would love to know how to remove the pain factor, or atleast reduce it. – oshirowanen Mar 25 '11 at 13:10
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It sounds like you've got a few things going on here, and I would suggest seeing a physiotherapist to get a personalized assessment and treatment prescription. What I'll say here is only a guess, so take it with a grain of salt.

The calf muscles are major players in skipping. When they contract, you foot goes into a plantar-flexed position, helping to power your jump. Most of these muscles attach into the Achilles (a.k.a calcanear) tendon. After skipping, these muscles can become tight, putting tension into the Achilles tendon, which can cause pain and tendonitis.

A tight Achilles tendon, in turn, puts you at high risk for plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis causes pain right around where that plantar aponeurosis label on your diagram points (check out the plantar fasciitis link for more details about symptoms).

Tight lower leg muscles can also cause shin splints, which cause pain in the tibialis anterior area. Shin splints can also be caused by more serious problems like stress fractures in one of the lower leg bones (skipping on concrete could do that), so if the pain persists, it's worth getting checked out.

The knee pain could be due to a number of things (check out the stuff under the "Medial" header). It could be related to the impact on the concrete floor, or to overpronation (tendency to roll the foot inwards), which is also a risk factor for plantar fasciitis.

Based on all these guesses, I would try the following:

  • Stretch your lower leg muscles, making sure to target your gastroc, soleus, and tibialis anterior. See the right column of this ExRx page for a bunch of stretching options.
  • Avoid jumping on concrete. Asphalt, turf, or some other padded surface would have more give, so your body wouldn't have to absorb as much impact.
  • See a physiotherapist for a diagnosis and rehab prescription (if overpronation is a factor, they may be able to give you some exercises to correct this).
  • Get your gait analyzed, and get appropriate footwear/orthotics. Some shoes correct for stuff like overpronation.
  • That is some fantastic information. Thanks. – oshirowanen Mar 27 '11 at 11:34
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If you could post of video of you jumping rope, that would be ideal. Rope jumping is low impact, depending on the surface and your form. I'm assuming if your knees hurt, you're not bending your knees at all and if the bottom of your feet hurt, it's the shoes you're wearing OR very very stiff tendons. How long are you jumping? Try:

  • jumping barefoot
  • reduce the time you're jumping to no more than 5 minutes
  • make sure the surface your jumping on is padded (foam/rubber)
  • keep your knees bent
  • Care to explain how these steps help @Meade? :-) – Ivo Flipse Mar 25 '11 at 14:37
  • I'm fairly sure I bend my knees, as I jump rope in an alternating manner like this: ehow.com/… – oshirowanen Mar 25 '11 at 14:40
  • I always start off at 1 minute, and build myself up by 1 minute a day, but after a week, it's too painful to continue. so I very rarely get over 5 minutes. – oshirowanen Mar 25 '11 at 14:41
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    I normally jump rope on concrete floor... I have tried on the back yard patio which is wooden, but that makes no difference. I have also tried on the lawn, but that makes it too difficult because of the friction from the grass, even though I have one of those heavy leather ropes. – oshirowanen Mar 25 '11 at 14:42
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    I'm skeptical about the advice to jump barefoot. I used to teach aquatic fitness barefoot, and developed some wicked pain around that plantar aponeurosis area. To prevent it I had to start wearing running shoes while teaching. – Barbie Mar 26 '11 at 20:04
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I have had the exact pain experience as you have albeit not with skipping but with running. And through this ordeal, I have discovered a solution to this problem through self analysis and trial-n-error which eventually work. I said 'self' analysis because various consultation to the doctors did not lead me to the right conclusion although their protocol was perfectly correct. Modern medicine tends not to be poor 'wholesome'.

Since about 2 years ago, I started having debilitating ankle pain with big swell, redness and pain that is so bad I could not move my feet even while on bed nor stand to go pee. Went to doctors, had my blood checked and found that I have high uric acid which they concluded was causing me to have the gout pain. Put me on medication and the uric acid went down to within the normal range. But I was still having those severe pain.

Self analysis - like said, my pain pattern was exactly like yours. Long story short, I realized that the culprit was the 'impact' I experienced when running on hard ground such as tarred roads, terrains etc. The impact hit at my ankles the hardest and not as bad on the knees which did exhibit 'noises' and slight pain after runs. BTW, I also trained with skipping for a while and stopped in no time after first experiencing your type of pain. I believe that the 'springing' action during skipping puts tremendous strain on the lower leg region [knees and below] by which tendons and ligaments get overworked easily. This also has lots to do with how heavy the body is that those lower leg muscles have to 'lift' during the spring action of skipping up.

Doctors - they could not figure out why I still had the pain despite the uric acid being normal and could only referred me to more specialists for MRI etc. I did not want to go that route as they can probably only propose physical therapy and perhaps try surgery.

What I did / am doing - 1. Continue with the uric meds so that there is no high uric acid to cause future damages to joints and bones [this is just for long term avoidance of possible ramification due to high UA] 2. Stopped my running all together and switched to swimming for cardio ever since. Surprised benefit includes - more intense cardio-vascular workout than running. Swimming restricts the breathing [when under water] and this trains the lungs better than the free flow of air while running. It trains and transforms my upper body which gave me bigger triceps, lads and delts. This is the beautiful part - when I missed running, I could run on the treadmills - the 'floating' belt provides good absorption of the impact - or use the elliptical machine which removes the feet pounding onto surfaces and I never got the pain returned once.

So that's my experience on how I resolved this [literally] painful 2 years plus of agony - with non medical intervention. Perhaps you can consider this approach too.

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