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Shin splint


New Member
Has anyone experienced shin splint while walking the Camino. After a long walk last year I had this problem and I was very pleased to be able to rest my leg and not have to walk any distance until it recovered. I have a nagging worry that this might occur again while Caminoing, any ideas how to avoid it but if it does return should I just soldier on or lay up for a few days. obviously not an easy option for many reasons. Any advice gratefully received (only don't tell me not to walk the Camino!).
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Hmmmm - I was dogged by a soft tissue injury on my foot and the foot doctor told me that if I didn't rest it would take it several months to recover. I was determined but he was right! But why not try RICE routinely whether or not it is painful. Rest, ice, compression. elevation.

The foot doctor also explained to me that it is much better to use real ice then gel based ice packs. Real ice is available en Camino in any event.

Good luck with it - but I'd follow medical advice if I were you or it may take a lot longer to recover. Better a delayed Camino than....and all that


Active Member
This is a relatively common occurrence - it happened to me and I had to stop walking for a week. I found that it is often caused by a foot/ankle problem that can often be corrected with inserts in your shoes/boots. By all means consult a foot specialist for evaluation as soon as possible.


Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
It was my experience on the AT that folks who pushed themselves to go too quickly and were carrying some weight on them (whether personally or in their packs) were the ones who developed shin splits. There is something to be said about not rushing.......

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Time of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
Aah, shinsplints! Takes me right back to my hurdle-running days in high school!

Best cure? Ice and elevation and rest.
If that cannot be achieved, then a good ice treatment. When the leg has to run, (or walk 20k.) you tape or wrap it up (with an elastic bandage) upward, from the heel, in a nice snug V across the shin. Looking at your leg from the front, you ought to have a VVVV of elastic bandage right down over where it hurts.

It´s still going to hurt like hell for a couple of days, unless you stop and elevate it and rest. If you are wise, you will do this. Find a good book or friend, chill out, and rest. Listen to your body, or it´s going to be reminding you of this particular moment of neglect for many years to come! (as Mr. Toland, my high school track coach and the Plato of Apollo-Ridge High School said: "sprains and twists are for today, but shinsplints are forever.")

don´t be stupid. It´s only a camino. You can come back.
(BTW, I was terrible at hurdles. But I was 1980 state champ at the long-distance 2-mile run!)

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Active Member
Shin splints is a generic term and could mean one of a few different problems. If the pain in on the inside of the shin, an arch support should help to prevent it. If the pain is on the outside of the shin then slowing down and carrying less weight will help. Make sure your shoes are well cushioned. See a podiatrist or a physical therapist for arch supports and make sure they understand how many miles you will be walking. Good luck.


New Member
What a fantastic forum this is! Thank you all so much for your advice. I will take it all into account and hopefully it won't happen, I think the don't rush, don't overdo it, kind of advice is excellent, better to be a tortoise rather than a hare any day, and I do have time which is not something everyone walking the Camino has, so i will go steady and rest up if I have to.

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Shin splints generally come from overstride, where the heel strikes first and the ball of the foot slaps down. The muscles and tendons on the shin bend the foot up at the ankle. The rapid stretching of these muscles on the forward stride, not the pushing action of the calf, causes the stress on the tendons. Proper footwear, a shortened stride, a proper pace, and trekking poles to reduce the impact of each step all will help prevent shin splints. Military marching creates a lot of shin splints because of the forced 30" stride, consistent cadence, and hard surface.

Once you get them, you can treat with rest, topical NSAID gel (ibuprofen), ice, and NSAID oral medications. Unless there is an associated stress fracture, torn muscle, or torn ligament, walking on shin splints is painful but not damaging.


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Shin splints generally come from overstride, where the heel strikes first and the ball of the foot slaps down.

I had no trouble in the foot or leg department last time, as I trained by doing a daily 5km race walk around the block. I know Sil is a race walker, and I would be interested to hear her thoughts on how the technique of race walking helps prevent injury for long distance walks. My theory is that by race walking daily I am building up strength in areas in the leg (particularly the calves and the shins) that don't normally get used and so when the pressure of long distance walking is applied those muscles and tendons have a lot of strength to help one cope. It certainly worked for me, and I am cranking up my (race walking) training ready for a July start north of Vezelay.

Cheers, Janet


Shin splints - horrid things! -
Glad to say that I've only had a shin splint once and that came after two days of teaming up with some other folk who walked just a fraction of a tiny bit faster than me - it can seem somewhat selfish but personal concerns here outweigh social concerns (star trek fans - "the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many") ... if you walk just the tiniest fraction faster than you normally do over a distance then you are entering the trouble area - all the advice is good ... but to walk at your own pace, and stop when you want is the absolute best! (goes for cycling too).
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CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I got shin splints when we walked into Bersianos, found chinchas, then high-tailed it to the next town to stay in a private hostel. The sun was setting and I was exhausted, but not willing to stay with the bedbugs since I had just undertaken all the steps to cleanse my bags and clothes.

Next morning I was in horrible pain. It took many days of taking it easy to heal. There were sections we bussed, instead of walking, and I hope to pick up those sections this next trip.

Ice would have been a good thing... so would NOT have panicking like I did, and taking it slower.

Painful.. ouch!
Better to take it easy.


New Member
regarding shin splints. Its not always easy but get off the hard roads and onto the grassy verge - as i said not always possible but if you can do it.. Also keep your fluids up, even if you think you don't need to, keep sipping water as you go. Its easy to lose tissue fluid - you not realise it untill you have a problem.
The rock hard surface from Carrion was the start of my problem i think. a doctor in Ponferrada told me to stop walking. so i had 3 days rest and then started off slowly 13km first day then upto 25km. my second last day into monte del gozo i did 38km. Amazing - my shin felt great.
all the best


New Member
Shin splint is very painful. It is caused by the moscle tearing away from the bone and if it gets too uncomfortable then the only answer is to rest otherwise more damage will be done.
Many who walk the Camino suffer from strains, pulls and niggles. They are part of the experience but judge for yourself and if the pain is too great, stop and rest using the ice and elevation as previous posts recommend. Otherwise, come back in the future when the lag has healed.


New Member
I too am an ex-hurdler who developed shin splints on my 2008 Camino. It started about Burgos where I picked up an elastic bandage. At Fromista I bought ibuprofin cream - what a life saver! Apply the cream in the morning, wrap the leg and walk until noon. At noon, unwrap the leg to give itsome air and re-apply the cream. Continue walking with a wrapped leg. When you stop, unwrap your leg and take your shower. After you are cleaned up, apply topical Traumeel and leave it unwrapped for the evening. This was the advice given to me at the farmacia in Fromista. I also had Dr Scholls pillow soles under my orthotics. I took a day of rest in Astoraga and finished strong.
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Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Hi, I got shinsplints and they got really bad on the descent to Ponferrada, which was brutally hot and steep and I got dehydrated. Definetely I recommend breaking that descent and staying the night half way down, you loose about 700 metres in height coming into Ponferrada and I hated it. The path was stony and you had to watch every step. I could not weightbear for 2 days after that, the pain was excruciating. I did get to Santiago eventually though. Gitti


Active Member
I just got a shin splint. I was so concerned over my ankles after my last 2 caminos and did not expect this. Today I am headed to the farmacia and then find an albergue where I can rest.
The Norte route has way too much asphalt. Today´s stage, in the Aguilar guidebook is titled, "Mucho Asafalto, Poca Costa" Much asphalt, little coast".
248kms to go!


New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April 2014
I got shin splint on the 3rd day of my Hadrian's Wall Path walk. Never had it before and thought I had a stress fracture in my right shin. As all our accom was booked I pushed on in agony that day. Met a couple experienced UK walkers that night and they suggested if I wanted to continue I should buy an aerosol ice spray from a chemist plus some bandage to bind it. This gave some temporary relief but had to repeat during day to get to each destination - was all booked so had to keep going. Made bowness with no permanent damage but had to rest up for a week for it to come back to normal.
Missed my walk up Snowdon in Wales - got the train - still great.

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