Shin splints are one of the most common-place running injuries. The pain you’ll feel if you have shin splints is typically on the front side of your shin (if you’re suffering from anterior shin splints) or on the back inside of the shin (if, on the other hand, you’re suffering from posterior medial shin splints).
Shin splints are very common among beginner runners. This is because they may do too much running too soon when they are trying to build up their time on the road. Beginners are most susceptible to suffering from shin splints because they are using leg muscles that haven’t been stressed – in the same manner – beforehand. By the same token, runners who are returning to running from injury are also susceptible, because they often increase their mileage too quickly.
While shin splints are normally caused by calf muscles which are tight – in addition to weak shin muscles – other factors may aggravate the injury, for example:
- Running on hard surfaces can put additional strain on your front leg muscles.
- It is also possible that you may overpronate (ankles roll in) or supinate (feet roll toward the outside edge) when you run. This will cause your front leg muscles to work harder in order to keep your feet stabilised. This biomechanical challenge may be made worse if you’re wearing a shoe that gives you poor support.
- Another common cause of shin splints is simply overtraining.
- Sometimes you can get shin splits owing to the fact that your shins pick up the slack for other body parts that are weak.
Exercises to help alleviate shin splints
Although shin splints are incredibly painful, the good news is that you can do a number of exercises in order to alleviate the these symptoms:
- Begin with your feet hip-width apart. Make sure that your right foot is stable and on a towel.
- With the toes of your right foot, scrunch up the towel and – in a slow manner – pull it towards you.
- Return to your starting position.
- Complete between 10 and 15 reps. Then repeat with your other foot.
- Begin by standing with your feet with a shoulder-width distance between them.
- Place a theraband around your thighs. Use one long resistance band that is tied in a loop or, alternatively, a smaller circular band.
- Keep you feet far enough apart so as to keep tension on your band.
- Step forward using your left foot and then swop to your right foot.
- After this, step to the left with your left foot. Swop to your right foot.
- Step backward with your left foot and then swop to your the right foot.
- Step to your right with your right foot and then your left foot.
- Repeat and going in the opposite direction.
- Stand with your feet on slightly apart on a step with your right toes on the edge of the step.
- Shift your weight to your right leg. Bend your left knee to lower your right heel down below the step.
- Return to your starting position.
- Complete between 10 to 15 reps. Repeat with your left leg.
- Lie supine on a mat and have your arms resting at your sides. Ensure that your knees are bent, and make sure that your feet are flat on the floor.
- Extend your right leg straight out so that your knees are in line.
- Squeeze your glutes and engage your left hamstring in order to lift your hips up off the floor.
- Complete between 10 and 15 reps. Repeat on other side.
Point and Flex
- Stand with your hands on your hips. Move your weight to your left leg as you lift your right leg straight out in front of you.
- Flex your toes towards your shin and then point your toes away from your shin.
- Complete between 10 and 15 reps then repeat the set on other leg.
- Begin in a standing position. Have your feet together and your arms at your sides.
- Rise up onto toes.
- Step with your right foot and land heel first. Roll onto your midfoot and then through to your toes. Lift back up onto your toes as you step with left foot. Continue to take between 10 and 15 “rolling” steps. After this, turn around and repeat until you are back at your starting position.
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