Picture this; you work out the day before, and you wake up from a great night’s sleep, only to find your body is sore. This is common when you work out, as you tend to push your muscles hard.
The worst of this pain is probably the shin splints. A shin splint, or medial tibial stress syndrome, is the pain you feel along the inner edge of your tibia. The muscles can get overworked just from running too much, or from doing other various leg exercises. Multiple things can contribute to shin splits, such as:
- Not getting your muscles loose
- Old footwear
- Flat feet or pronated arches
- Intense Exercise, particularly at the start of a fitness program or regime
Luckily, I can tell you some great stretches that you can use to prevent shin splints.
1. Toe Stretches
First, you are going to stand with your feet together, and then move into a sitting position on your knees, with your toes tucked under. You should be sitting on your toes. If the stretch is too painful, place your hands on the floor to steady yourself. Try and sit like this for about 45 seconds.
2. Shin Stretches
Flatten the tops of your feet on the floor. Bring your ankles and calves together. Then you should place your hands behind you onto the floor and gently lean back. This will stretch it out in a slightly different way. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds.
3. Wall Shin Raises
Put your back against a wall, and make sure your heels are around a foot away from the wall. Your body should be resting on the wall, while your feet are not touching the wall at all. Keep your heels on the ground and bring your toes up towards your body, while keeping your knees locked. Do this stretch for about 10-15 seconds, or do it in reps of 3.
4. Calf Raises
This one is straight forward, but you need control. Lift your heels up as high as you can go, and then slowly lower them back down. Do this stretch for 3 reps of 25 calf raises.
5. Calf Stretches
Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you. Use an elastic exercise band, or a towel to wrap around the bottom of your foot, and gently pull your toes towards you. Be sure to keep your leg straight when you do this. Hold it for 10-15 seconds, and repeat 2-3 times.
6. Shin Resistance
Sit on the floor and loop your exercise band, or towel, around the leg of a table, with the other end wrapped around the front of your foot. Bring your toes towards you, against the resistance. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Shin splints can hurt like crazy. However, if you are sure to stretch properly before each work out, you should be able to make shin splints a thing of the past. I hope this helps you to stay happy and healthy!
Written by Gary Buchenic, Personal Trainer, and author of Stop Shin Splints Forever