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Ankle Pain

Shin Splints Exercises

Minute Read

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4 weeks ago

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by james

Shin Splints are a common injury affecting the front and/or inside of the shin bone (tibia). It is often painful when walking and made worse with impact activities such as running or jumping. Exercises for shin splints can help address biomechanical issues or muscle imbalances that may have caused the onset of shin splints. Shin Splints Exercises detailed in this article are common exercises we recommend to our patients. They are one piece of the puzzle, and we have created a shin splints treatment article to read about all the other factors that can help you resolve your injury.

Please scroll down for a detailed description of how to do our recommended exercises.

What are the best Shin Splints Exercises?

 

  • Calf Stretches
  • Calf Foam Rolling
  • Anterior Tibialis Tendon Stretches
  • Soleus Muscle Strengthening
  • Posterior Tibial Muscle & Peroneal Muscle Strengthening
  • Hamstring & Gastrocnemius strengthening
  • Plyometric Exercises (Hopping)

Exercises for Shin Splints: Physical Therapy

Stretching your calf muscles (Soleus and Gastrocnemius) is a crucial aspect of treatment for shin splints. Tight calves can overload the Anterior Tibialis Muscle, contributing to shin splint pain; you can complement these stretches with foam rolling. Anterior Tibialis stretching helps provide pain relief. We often recommend prioritizing stretching until you are in control of your pain, i.e. pain-free walking, before beginning strengthening exercises.

Strengthening the ankle and foot stability muscles can help control the foot’s motion through the gait cycle, including the Peroneal Muscles, Posterior Tibial Muscle, and soleus muscle.

Alongside strengthening exercises, we recommend balance exercises for your foot and ankle. Balance exercises can be as simple as single-leg balance and can progress onto single-leg balance on an unstable surface such as a wobble cushion.

Finally, we recommended strengthening supplementary muscles such as the Gastrocnemius and hamstring muscles. Upon completion, and if pain-free, we recommend plyometric exercises such as double and single-leg hopping on the sport so the shin bone can increase its tolerance for shock absorption.

Best Stretches for Shin Splints

Soleus Stretch Standing

  • Stand upright with the affected leg behind you
  • Bend the back leg while keeping your heel on the floor
  • Stop and hold when you feel a pull on the back of your leg
  • Hold for 45 seconds
  • Repeat 3-4 times daily.

Standing Gastrocnemius Stretch

  • Stand upright with the affected leg behind you
  • Keep the knee straight on the leg behind with a slight bend on the knee in front
  • Move forward on the front leg while keeping both heels on the floor
  • Stop moving forward once you feel a stretch on the back leg
  • Hold for 45 seconds
  • Repeat 3-4 times daily.

Foam Rolling the Calf Muscles

  • Sitting on the floor place your calf on the foam roller
  • Place your unaffected leg on top
  • Use your hands to lift your hips off the floor
  • Move back and forward on the foam roller over the calf muscle
  • Repetition: 1-2 minutes
  • Frequency: 2-3 times daily.

Anterior Tibialis Muscle Stretch

  • In a kneeling position, point your toes down
  • Sit back onto your heels until you feel a stretch on the front of your shin
  • Hold for 45 seconds
  • Repeat 3-4 times daily.

 

Strengthening Exercises for Shin Splints

Posterior Tibial Muscle Strengthening

  • In a seated position place the affected ankle over the opposite knee
  • Place a band around both feet
  • Point the toes of the affected foot and lift them up against the resistance of the band
  • Slowly return to your starting position to complete one repetition
  • Band Colour: Yellow
  • Repetitions: 15
  • Sets: 3
  • Frequency: Once daily

Peroneal Muscle Strengthening

  • In a seated position, place both feet flat on the floor
  • Place a band around both feet. Turn the affected foot outwards (eversion) against the resistance of the band
  • Slowly return to your starting position to complete one repetition
  • Band Colour: Yellow
  • Repetitions: 15
  • Sets: 3
  • Frequency: Once daily

Soleus Muscle Strengthening

  • Stand upright with both knees bent
  • Maintain the bend in your knees while lifting your heels off the floor
  • Slowly return to your starting positon to complete one repetition
  • Repetitions: 25
  • Sets: 3
  • Frequency: Once daily

Gastrocnemius Strengthening Exercise

  • Stand upright with your knees straight
  • Maintain this knee position while lifting both heels off the floor
  • Slowly return to your starting position to complete one repetition
  • Repetitions: 25
  • Sets: 3
  • Frequency: Once daily

Single-Leg Balance: Eyes Open

  • Stand on one leg with your foot flat on the floor
  • Hold your opposite leg out in front
  • Focus on a point in front of you to help with stability
  • Hold for 60 seconds
  • Repeat 3-4 times daily.

Single-Leg Balance: Wobble Cushion

  • Stand on one leg with your foot flat on a wobble cushion
  • Hold your opposite leg out in front
  • Focus on a point in front of you to help with stability
  • Hold for 60 seconds
  • Repeat 3-4 times daily.

Hamstring Strengthening Exercise: Long Lever Bridge

  • Ly on your back with your knees bent to 30º
  • Engage your lower abdominals and gluteal muscles
  • Keep them engaged as you slowly lift your hips off the floor
  • Slowly return to your starting position to complete one repetition
  • Repetitions: 25
  • Sets: 3
  • Frequency: Once daily

Plyometrics: Double Leg Hopping

  • Stand upright on two feet
  • Bounce up and down on your toes
  • Try to not let your heels touch the ground
  • Repetitions: 25
  • Sets: 3
  • Frequency: Once daily

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

Related Article: Shin Splints Treatment

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