Stretches to Help Prevent Shin Splints

Shin SplintsShin splints are a condition where the anterior tibialis muscle that runs up the front of your leg beside your shin bone causes discomfort and pain. Luckily, you can prevent shin splints from coming back, or indeed ever coming at all if you are lucky enough to have never experienced them.

In most cases the pain and discomfort in your lower leg is a result of overuse – either your activities were too intense or you just kept repeated stress on your lower legs for too long. In both cases the end result can be very painful shin splints.

There are 3 muscle groups to target in the lower leg – the anterior tibialis, gastrocnemius, and soleus muscles. In order to have a fully balanced leg you need both strength and flexibility in all three.

There are many different variations of stretches you can use to improve the flexibility and strength of your muscles, and here are some that I have found very useful in my years as a long distance and cross country runner.

Anterior Tibialis Stretches:

Lying Shin Stretch – Start by laying down on your side. you will do both sides so it doesn’t matter which you choose first. Hold your leg folded behind you and use your hand pull it tight into your thigh.

Heel Walking – Similar to the toe walking, but this time you raise your toes and walk with only your heels touching the floor. Repeat the process with toes pointed inwards, and again with toes pointed outwards.

Gastrocnemius Stretches:
Toe Walking – Lift yourself slowly up onto your toes, and walk around for about 20 to 30 meters and slowly drop back down to your heels. Repeat the process with toes pointed inwards, and again with toes pointed outwards.

Straight Knee Wall Stretch – standing in front of a wall, lean forward placing both hands on the wall. With one leg straight at the knee, heel firmly on the floor gently lean forward until you feel a pulling in your calf muscle.

Soleus Stretches:

Knee Bends – Standing with your feet flat on the ground bend your knees leaning forward as far as you can while keeping your heels flat on the ground.

Bent Knee Wall Stretch – Similar to the straight knee version above, but this time when you lean towards the wall your knee will be bent. This change in position of the leg takes the focus from the gastrocnemius muscle to the soleus muscle.

This list gives you two shin splint stretches for each group of muscles you need to work on to help prevent shin splints from returning.

I suffered from this condition for years before I really understand what was causing me so much pain and discomfort. Shin splint stretches are one of the methods I use to ensure good muscle strength in my lower legs, and to prevent shin splints from returning.

You can read the rest of my story and discover far more information about how to manage and prevent shin splints at my website dedicated to Shin Splints Treatment

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