Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What are your most effective exercies to prevent shin splints?

There are no shortage of posts attempting to explain why part of the front lower leg is hurting but not nearly as many that I can find explaining effective exercises to help prevent the pain from occurring in the first place.  By 'shin splint' I mean the tingling or sometimes outright pain you get on your front 'anterior' lower leg 'tibia' normally after running longer or faster that you have previously trained before.

So let's assume for the sake of this discussion that you have NOT recently changed shoes, you have seen a shoe expert and your running shoes actually support the way you run and you do not have any kind of stress bone fracture.  You recently increased your distance, changed terrain or increased your speed and now are experiencing shin pain.

I talked to several long-time runners and have received the following exercise advice based on the assumption that the calves are too tight and shin muscle (anterior tibial), ligaments or helper stabilizing micro-stabilizing muscles were irritated by overuse:

  • Shin Muscle (tibialis anterier):
    • while sitting do repeated foot up raises
    • walk around the house on your heels in low cushion shoes
    • draw letters in carpet/sand with your toes
    • job slowly with your toes pointed in, then out
    • sit on your knees with toes pointed behind you and slowly put pressure on the front of your ankle/shin to flatten out on floor.
  • Calf Muscle (gastrocnemius / soleus)
    • have sports masseur melt any knots you may have in soleus junction or main gastroc muscle
    • stand in front of wall with one leg behind you slowly move your upper body toward wall and stretching out calf.
    • on curb facing sidewalk, slowly dip one foot and stretch out calf/Achilles.
    • foam roll calf muscle

What exercises do you do to prevent shin splints?

Some References:
What is the Shin Muscle?
How to get rid of Shin Splints

1 comment:

  1. Informative read! Those are such great ways to prevent from getting shin splints. When I get shin splints:
    1- I use a foam roller and roll them over my calves and shins.
    2- Stretch my calf muscles! I hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.