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I started with the treadmill a few weeks ago and every time I run the muscle to the outside of my shin (Tibialis anterior?) becomes extremely tight, rock solid, and painful after only 5 minutes. This has been happening since day 1. I have to stop as soon as that happens due to the pain, which is quite discouraging

Are these shin splints? I've read that shin splints typically occur on the inside of the shin, not the outside. Additionally, I've read that it typically takes a while for shin splints to occur (rather than from day 1 like in my case)

I presume there are exercises for shin splints, so my main question is actually, is it normal for this type of pain to occur after only 5 minutes of slow jogging? That onset seems quite acute and hasnt improved in the past few weeks

Some additional information that may be relevant:

  • I always warm up with a slow walk and work up to a run, so I don't think this is because I'm jumping directly into running
  • I have extremely flat feet so I purchased a new pair of running shoes with a fair amount of support due to recommendations from the guy at the running store. I've been wearing these since day 1
  • I'm quite overweight for my height: 5'7" and 175lbs
  • I haven't done any real exercise for a little over a decade, but I feel like my body should be able to handle just 5 minutes of running...
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    What's your running technique? Do you land on your heel or the ball of your foot? I'm not well versed in running but you're supposed to land on the ball of your feet and toes to absorb the shock. – Yousend Apr 10 at 17:33
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I would venture to guess that you have, as you noted, tibialis anterior muscle pain. That muscle and its associated tendons are responsible for dorsiflexion or put more plainly it helps you lift your toes off the ground and towards your shin. One way to clue in that this muscle might be a problem is if you tend to "thunk" your foot down when you run, rather than find each of your strides to be quieter and rolling more from your heel to your ball/toes.

Some things you can try:

  • Run in flatter shoes. Shoes like the Altra Lone Peak (there are others) are "zero drop", meaning there's no elevation between your heels and your toes. This lowers the leverage on the ankle during heel strike which eases the load on your tibialis anterior.

  • Put your back about one foot from a wall standing up, shoes off. Lean back against the wall (use your hands at hip level to slow you down). Keep your body straight and stiff, and then pull your toes up towards your knees, body weight on your heels. Lower your toes back down. Aim for 12 times, 3 times a day.

Regardless of all that, you may want to visit a physical therapist. It might cost you $100 or nothing at all if your insurance covers it. But it's a cheap price to pay to not be in pain and to keep on the road to fitness.

nsingh's answer about not running every day is a solid idea as well. But if you have weakness or biomechanical issues otherwise in your tibialis anterior you need to address it.

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I am also a victim of the same situation and with a similar body structure as yourself. Few things that are helpful in my case are

  • always warm up before running. Not just a couple of minutes of warm-up but a good 10-15 minutes warmup. Even better if you can break a sweat
  • control your running speed. Do not jump the gun quickly. If you haven't done any exercise for over a decade, then take it slow and accept the fact that you won't turn into Usain Bolt in a day
  • DO NOT RUN EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is very important. Beginners (especially like us who started exercising after a long time) think that they have finally started exercising, so do it every day. If there is something called too sedentary, then there is something called too much exercise too. Build up some resistance to it before doing to every day.
  • Not sure if you are on a diet, but try to keep carbs to a good level. They help in fast recovery
  • Final but very important, cool down. It is as important as the warm-up. As you get done with the run, take 4-5 minutes of light jog/walk to cool down. Do not stop immediately. Also, stretch a bit.

Good luck!

  • Can you expand on the warm-up? What would you recommend? – Lux Claridge Apr 10 at 13:11
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    10-15 body weight squats, 10 knee raises each leg, 5-10 min brisk walking (I use 3.5 mph on the treadmill) – SinghTheCoder Apr 10 at 18:24

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