Exercise! - My shins and calves are KILLING me!

05-18-2002, 02:10 PM
Ok, I am WAY out of shape, but started walking 3 nights ago.

First night - 20 minutes
Second night - 30 minutes
Third night - 10 minutes.....I thought I was going to DIE.

I DID stretch before I walked, but my ankles, shins and calves hurt so bad I had to keep stopping and trying to stretch them. They REALLY hurt.

Will this stop? Anyone else with this problem, should I walk through it, or will it make it worse the next time I walk?

Any advice would be appreciated!
Miss Tiffany
265/haven't checked yet/150

05-18-2002, 07:58 PM
Hi Miss T!

Excuse the questions if you answer yes to them all! I just want to try and cover all possibilities for you:

1) Do you wear a good pair of walking shoes that are suited to the surface you are walking on? You will need good socks too! This is especially important for us overweight walkers as our ankles need all the help they can get!

2) Was the first walk the first real distance you had walked for a while? Do you normally only walk very short distances (like to the car and back)? If this is the case then you will need to rethink the time you start off with. You might need to limit yourself to a 10 minute walk, but you could do it 2 or 3 times a day, if that is how your body prefers it. You can build up the time you spend walking over a few weeks.

3) You say you stretched before you walked. Stretching is really important, but you shouldn't stretch cold, unused muscles as they don't have any stretch and could hurt.

Try walking for a few minutes at a nice slow, comfortable pace. Stop. Then stretch your hamstrings (back of thighs), quads (front of thighs), calves and shins. Then continue your walk at a slightly faster pace. When you stop stretch again. This means if you walk to a place and stop for a visit, then walk back home again you should stretch at the place you visit and when you get back home. You don't want the muscles to cool down without having stretched them first!

4) It is also possible that you simply tried to walk too fast! You should be able to hold a conversation during the whole walk. Rather than going like crazy you should aim to be slightly out of breath and a little warmer than you usually are - that's enough. As you get more used to walking you will need to go a little longer, a little further or a little faster to achieve this. So your own fitness levels dictate how much work you should do!

5) You may have short, tight leg muscles. You can help this by doing some simple moves in front of your TV.

Firstly point your toes and hold them pointed for a count of 10, then relax - this stretches the shins. Then, keeping your heels on the floor, raise your toes toward your knees and hold for 10 seconds, stretching the calves.

Now, remembering to work each leg equally, draw the alphabet in capitals and lower case, with your toes. Write your name and address, telephone number, anything you like, but keep those feet moving. This should help both strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the ankles!

If you have any questions, or want to know how to stretch the hamstrings, quads etc, just get back to me. I will try to reply ASAP.

Just so's you know who I am, I am Stef, a 36 year old, obese aerobics instructor and exercise science lecturer here in the UK.

Start Weight (14.4.02): 14st 13lbs
Current Weight: 14st 9lbs
1st Goal Weight (30.5.02): 14 st 0.0 lb
Rate of Loss: 2 lb/week
Target daily calories: 1380 kcal
Starting BMI: 35
Current BMI: 34.2
Loss this week: 1.5lb

05-19-2002, 01:07 PM

Thank you SO much, just the simple pointing of the toes for a 10 count and flexing for a 10 count did amazing things. I wasn't stretching them that long before.

Also, this WAS the first real walking that I had done for a LONG time. You don't think that it could be that awful to walk for a half hour, but it was tough.

I also will start by walking slowly for several minutes to get the muscles warm and then do some additional stretching.

Thank you again, you were so very helpful and very kind to answer my post!


05-19-2002, 07:52 PM

I am happy to help. I am glad that the simple stuff helped.

Keep asking questions here and you just don't know what you'll get back. It's amazing how helpful people here are. Just for achat or sharing experiences with various diets, clubs, clothing chains etc.

I hope to be able to read you lots more, Stef

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeuw! that sounded a bit patronising, I mast have my teaching head on, sorry!

Venus Envy
05-20-2002, 10:34 AM
I love Stef's suggestions!! Another good strengthening exercise for the shins is to lay a 2X4 board on the floor, then stand with your heels on the board, a chair behind you -- hold the back of the chair for balance. Lift your toes up as high as you can and then lower them back down. Two sets of 15, to begin with, then add more as you can tolerate them.

Stef, can you recommend some hamstring stretches and exercises?

05-20-2002, 06:48 PM
Hamstring stretches:

1) Lie on your back, both knees bent, feet flat to the floor. Relax your back until it is comfortable.

2) Raise one knee in to the chest, hands under the knee joint (sort of trapped betwen calf and thigh). Ease it in to the chest until you feel a small stretch in your butt! Hold that for 10 seconds.

3) Slowly raise the foot into the air. Aim to get the leg as straight as possible, but keeping the knee slighlty bent, or soft as we instructors like to say! Support the legs with one or both hands, or a towel of that is easier. Support it either below or above the knee joint, whichever is most comfortable for you. Hold that for 10 seconds.

4) Take a deep breath in, as you exhale ease the leg in to your chest a little further if you can. Hold that there for another 10seconds. If you want to you can point and flex your toes at this pint to give your calf and shin a little stretch too!

5) Lower the leg back to the floor and repeat with other leg!

That is the most complete and controllable hams stretch. It is more effective than any standing stretch and is more difficult to do wrong than any standing stretch.

Hams work! Well every time you lift your foot off the floor (raising your heel behind you) you work your hams. So this muscle is used to a lot of work. This means that nasty instructors like me :devil: :devil: like to tire out the surrounding muscles before targetting the hams. Just so's they really feel it! :s: :s:

So glutes first!:

1) Kneel down and drop your hands to the floor. Now bend your elbows so as your forearms are on the floor. You should now be propped up on your knees and forearms! Keep your knees hip width apart. Suck in your tummy to give your back extra support.

2) Raise 1 leg into the air, knee bent at 90degrees. The thigh should be parallell with the floor and the foot parallell to the ceiling. This is your start position.

3) Bring the knee into your chest and then raise the leg back to the start position - keeping the knee and ankle bent to 90degrees all the time.

Do it nice and slowly about 10 times to begin with.

Now those hams:

1) Take the same leg back to the start position. Don't change legs here, it's not time yet! :D

2) Leave the thigh parallell to the floor throughout this move. Now extend and bend from the knee.

3) Do that about 10 times. You should feel the burn in your butt quite quickly!

Now do the other leg!

If this doesn't make sense get right back to me! It is actually more difficult than I expected trying to write these without being able to demonstrate! So I may make an error. Let me know and I will put it right immediately!

Good luck, Stef

Venus Envy
05-24-2002, 01:07 PM
Thanks, Stef! You're da greatest.

05-31-2002, 08:09 PM
Thanks for the reminders about drawing figures with your toes--I keep forgetting that as a warmup.

I have Tiffany's problem in spades. I've been told by PT's that certain ligaments in the sides of my ankles are strained and weak, so here's another thing they've told me to do: at first sitting with the feet flat on the floor, and then standing, pull your instep up so that only the outside edge of the foot is on the floor, hold for a count of five, and then release. I do both feet at once for four or five reps. Somehow this warms up and strengthens those ligaments, if that's where your problems are.

Unfortunately, though, sometimes my ankles and shins act up even though I've been hiking and walking and elliptical-training all the time. I do find that hiking on trails almost never hurts; I think that the repetition and impact of walking on pavement is harder on my legs. So you might want to consider finding a dirt or grass trail to walk on. Just an idea!

06-07-2002, 04:27 PM
Hey Stef,

Any ideas for hip stretching? My hips always seem to get the brunt of a workout and I feel semi-arthritic when I am finished walking and stretching at the end of the workout.



06-07-2002, 08:24 PM
Hi Ressey,

I am presuming you mean the front of your hips, the hip flexors. These are different than the 'quads' and do need to be stretch separately.

I'll give you a minds eye picture of the muscles involved first, then I know we will be doing the same things. Please note that it is a minds eye picture and not necessarily anatomically correct!!!

The quadriceps muscle group (quads) is made up of four muscles along the front of the thigh. They cross the front of the knee joint and their main function is to extend your lower leg.

The hip flexors are on the front of the hip and work to bend the hip and lift the leg.

Make sure you warm-up prior to stretching, or stretch at the end of your workout.
Hold each stretch for a period of 20 to 30 seconds.
Stop immediately if you feel any pain.

This stretch can be performed either standing, or laying on your side or stomach. If standing use a chair or wall for support.

Take hold of one leg at the ankle, and slowly ease your heel up towards your bottom. If you cannot reach your ankle do the stretch lying down and wrap a towel around the ankle, pull gently to ease the ankle in towards your bottom.

Aim to keep your knees together and back straight throughout the stretch. Push your hips forward to increase the stretch on the quads.

Standing: step back with one leg, as wide as is comfortable. Lower yourself towards the floor, bending both knees to 90 degrees. Slowly push the pelvis of the back leg forward until you feel the stretch across the front of the hip.

If you want to have a look at different muscles, where they are, what they are etc try www.netfit.com. It's not bad at all, and it's free to have a look!!!

Come back if you want more info, especially if you check out the site and aren't sure about what you find. It is sometimes aimed too much at the muscle minded, more elite fitness people.


06-20-2002, 05:59 PM
Stef, you rock! My shins and calves always seem to hurt when I go walking, even when I was in shape in the Army, my shins seemed to always hurt. (I think because of our combat boots, they were about as comfortable as a pair of stelletos)

All of the stretches you have posted on here have helped me out a lot. There is one problem that I seem to have that won't go away. The bottom's of my feet hurt terribly at times, the part between your heel and balls of your foot. I know they need a good stretching, but what can you do for feet? Is it me or does anyone else have this problem? Thanks!

06-20-2002, 06:47 PM

That pain has got a name but I just can't bring it to mind! I hate when that happens!

There are lots of reasons this can happen, ill fitting shoes, high/low heels etc etc etc. Interestingly (you mentioned the army) it can be due to lots of walking running in unsupportive footwear and your arches falling.

Most common is just natural aging processes. If you are of a certain age (30+ unfortunately) your feet do begin to settle and spread. This involves the small bones in the middle of your foot flattening, fallen arches it is commonly known as. This is normal and in most cases is not too bad and doesn't last very long. If you are feeling this for a long time, or the pain is strong, then you need to find yourself a podiatrist. Excuse me if that is the wrong word in the US! A foot doctor anyway.

Meanwhile make sure you keep your footwear in good condition, and that it is comfortabe and fit for the job! You have my sympathy, my feet are spreading as we speak and I HATE the comfy shoes I need to wear. Roll on the day they stop hurting and I can try smart shoes again (fingers crossed).


06-21-2002, 11:48 AM
Plantar Fasciitis!!

No! Not swearing, SparkiMG, that's the name of the pain I think you may be suffering from!

I know, it doesn't hurt less cos it's got a name but I really do hate forgeting stuff that should always be on the tip of my tongue!

Anyway, let me know how it goes! Stef