Shin Splints: Recovery Exercises - Women's Running UK

Shin Splints: Recovery Exercises

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  August 3, 2016

 Exercises-to-prevent-shin-splints-.jpg

 

Shin splints (or medial tibial stress syndrome) is one of the most common lower-leg injuries among runners – particularly those who are new to the sport. Doing too much, too soon is a common cause, as is weakness or tightness of the lower-limbs or an imbalance between the different muscles in the lower leg. Over-pronating and wearing the wrong shoes can also lead to shin splints. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience this pesky injury, you’ll be familiar with the acute pain on the inside or outside of the lower leg bone (tibia) during and after your run. This is caused by the soft tissue, which surrounds the bone, becoming inflamed due to continuous trauma and overuse.

Recovery

Your first step in treating shin splints is to rest, avoiding all running and replacing it with non-weight-bearing cardio exercises. Your next step is to improve the strength and flexibility in your lower limbs. The below exercises are designed to do just that; perform three sets of 10-15 repetitions and try to hold the stretches twice for 20 to 30 seconds.

Shin stretch

Shin stretch

Muscles used:
Shin muscles (tibialis anterior)
Why do it?
There is not a lot of movement in the front part of your ankle, so losing flexibility in your ankles tends to lead to lower leg injuries.
Technique:
• Stand and place your right foot’s toes on the floor
• Push your foot down until you feel a stretch in the
front part of your foot and ankle
Watch points:
If you don’t feel a stretch in your shin muscles, you might need to massage it to release the tension.

Resistance band shin pulls

Resistance band shin pulls

Muscles used:
Shin muscle, extensor muscle group (tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum longus, extensor hallucis longus, peroneus longus, peroneus, brevis)
Why do it?
This is a great exercise to do in the office to improve the stretch of the muscles in your shin.
Technique:
• Tie a resistance band into a loop
• Hook both feet into the resistance band
• Place one leg on top of the other
• Ensure you have tension on the resistance band
• Pull your toes up to your shin; hold for three counts
• Slowly point your toes
• Complete one set before changing over to the other leg
Watch points:
It’s important to train both legs to prevent any future problems on the non-injured leg.

Step ABC Calf Raises

Step ABC Calf Raises

Muscles used:
Calf muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus)
Why do it?
An imbalance in the different calf muscles can lead to a variety of calf injuries.
Technique:
• Stand with the balls of your feet on a step with your toes facing forward
• Raise your heels up as high as you can
• Slowly lower your heels below the step level
Watch points:
Beware that the injured calf muscle might have less movement and feel weaker.

Resistance band ankle inwards pull

Resistance band ankle outwards pull

Muscles used:
Foot extensor muscles (tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum longus, extensor hallucis longus, peroneus longus, peroneus, brevis)
Why do it?
Strong muscles in the front of your lower leg can prevent shin splints or a stress fracture.
Technique:
• Tie a resistance band in a loop
• Hook it around your right foot and hold the edge
with your right hand
• Lift your toes of your right foot off the floor
• Pull the toes of your right foot inwards towards your
left foot
• Complete one set before repeating on the other side
Watch points:
Always keep resistance on the band

Chair calf stretch

Chair calf stretch

Muscles used:
Calf muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus)
Why do it?
Tight calf muscles lead to muscle imbalances in the front and back of your leg, which can lead to calf injuries, shin splints or stress fractures.
Technique:
• Stand with your right foot’s toes on the edge of your chair leg
• Step forward with your left leg
• Push your hips forward until you feel the stretch
through your calf muscles.
Watch points:
Don’t overstretch the injured muscle.

Alongside the above, here’s six rehabilitation techniques to try:

-Ice for 20mins three to four times per day
-Use kinesio tape to help with support and swelling
-Have a sports massage
-Do a gait analysis to ensure that you are wearing the correct shoes
-Follow a full-body strength training and flexibility programme. Get started with this body-weight circuit.
-When you start to run again, start running on softer surfaces

Women's Running Magazine

NMA’s 2020 Lifestyle Magazine of the Year, Women’s Running provides expert advice on gear and training, motivation from your favourite runners and the latest running news.

Meet the team

We use cookies to give you a better experience on womensrunning.co.uk. By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies as set in our Cookie Policy.

OK, got it