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Old 01-24-2013, 02:46 PM   #1
Joe Hastings
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Sharp but transient pain on outside of shin about 2 inches below knee

Many years ago (long before CF) I heard a pop while doing prone hamstring curls (Nautilus machine) though there was very little pain at the time. Since then I've had an odd problem: any sort of awkward/unfamiliar motion (say learning kipping pullups or slipping on ice or contorting to catch a frisbee or even just trying to take off VFF's the first time) has a good chance of triggering an intense burning in my outer shin about two inches below the knee and at around 9 to 10-o-clock (if 12 were facing forward) and about a quarter to half of an inch below the skin. The pain is quite intense and bad enough that I often reach for the area as a reflex (i.e. even if that sudden reach is not particularly safe, it happens before I can suppress it).

It goes away pretty quickly (always gone by 60 seconds) and I instinctively tend to rub it very hard which helps it go away faster. Oddly enough, it's less likely to happen if the motion actually involves the legs. Once a particular motion has caused it (for say kipping pullups) I tend to "guard" against a repeat by (I think) tensing up my leg (which then becomes subconscious) which greatly reduces the odds of the pain for that particular motion but is probably not the greatest thing to be ingraining.

I've mentioned this to many people over the years (doctors, trainers, massage therapists, chiropractors, etc) but I've never heard a good theory and they never thought it warranted an MRI. It seems like it may be related to dorsiflexion and/or outer rotation of my foot (that causes muscles in the rough area of the pain to fire, though it doesn't trigger the pain if I experiment in isolation) but it's not something that can be triggered by an exam, it seems to require my body being startled or confused.

I'm coming back from meniscus surgery a few months ago, and annoyingly all kinds of CF motions seem to be re-triggering the pain, presumably because I haven't done them in a while and no longer "guard".

I've generally tried to foam-roll this area (it actually feels pretty pleasant to roll it out, even though the feeling is neutral on the other leg in the same area) but it doesn't seem to help. Does anybody have a theory and/or suggestions?
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:03 PM   #2
Doug Holland
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Re: Sharp but transient pain on outside of shin about 2 inches below knee

If you have insurance demand an MRI. It could be all kinds of things and a MRI will rule out certain issues. I don't want to put stuff in your head of what it could be. Peace of mind is half the healing.
My Fat To Fitness Log And Pictures "DL is the TRUE test of strength. Either you can lift the darn thing or you can't." - Veronica Davis
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:38 PM   #3
Sean Rockett
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Re: Sharp but transient pain on outside of shin about 2 inches below knee

your location of pain sounds like it is at hamstring insertion site onto tibia. would get xray and see someone.
Sean Rockett, MD
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:57 AM   #4
Daniel Pope
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Re: Sharp but transient pain on outside of shin about 2 inches below knee

Hey Joe,

Just a guess but the common fibular nerve travels next to the biceps femoris (outside/lateral hamstring muscle). The common fibular nerve supplies the feeling to the area you describe. If you damaged the hamstring and then the hamstring healed, you could have formed some scar tissue that trapped the nerve some. Now when doing exercises that stress/stretch the hamstring you could get those symptoms. A solution would probably include soft tissue work, stretching and nerve gliding. Probably best to see a professional if the symptoms don't resolve.

Hope that helps,
Dan Pope
Physical Therapist, Coach, Athlete - My website: Injury Prevention Info so you can continue to enjoy crossfit pain free
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