Why do my shins hurt while erging?


Osteopath treating a rower Osteopath treating a rower

It’s unaccustomed muscle usage. Nothing to worry about, just build up your training gradually so you acquire strength. Then you won’t feel the muscles working as they will already be strong.

While these muscles hurt, DO go and get some osteopathy / physiotherapy rehabilitation. Go and see a sports specialist, preferably someone who has a track record in rowing and indoor rowing. Get them to help you to release the muscle tension, massage can improve blood flow to the area which promotes healing and also to review your total posture in case there’s a postural reason why your rowing machine has caused this (minor) injury.

I have personally always got great treatment and rapid rehabilitation from osteopaths. Others use phyiotherapists, chiropractors, dry needling specialists and massage therapists. Find one who works for you.

Rules with rowing injuries

  1. Get them treated FAST
  2. ONLY use a sports experienced therapist
  3. Ask the therapist to get you back into training as soon as possible

Remember, medical doctors rarely have sports experience and frequently will recommend rest alone as a way to heal.  Rest alone does not heal injuries. Keeping active during your rehab speeds recovery and also ensures you keep some base fitness in the uninjured parts of your body.

Now what would you add to this advice?


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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Graham Cawood

    Perhaps it is a jerky acceleration after the release that is causing pain.
    At the release let the knees rebound and lift without pause. Get your hands away quickly past your knees. Accelerate gently for about 1/2 the recovery.
    Raising the seat end of the erg, perhaps 40mm, would reduce the ankle pull.
    Aim for smooth movement – no jerks!

    Hope this helps

  2. SBB

    If it’s at the finish / release, check that you are not flexing your toes towards you too much and tensing the ligaments next to your shin that way. Try rowing feet out to see if it makes a difference? If it’s on the way forward, again – see if you can relax toes and ankle rather than pull your body up the slide with your feet. Ankle mobility and strengthening exercises might help, and make sure you are thoroughly warmed up before starting an erg. It could be the sort of ligament pain in the shins (“shin splints”) that’s usually a runner’s injury but a) from my own experience I’d say it’s possible to pick it up from rowing if you have poor flexibility, and b) maybe you picked it up on land and are feeling the effects in the boat!

  3. Kate

    I got the same issue. I learned a lot from your article. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Rebecca Caroe

      Thanks Kate

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