So you finally decided to start running again in the hopes of getting back into shape, but alas, you find yourself with a nagging pain in your lower leg after covering a few miles. This pain you feel might be a shin splint and is one of the most common injuries runners get.
Shin splints, medically known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), often occur in runners due to the repetitive tiny stress fractures on the shin or extremely tight muscles. The chances of getting shin splints are more likely when you haven’t run for a while and overexert your tight muscles, or you suddenly ran a longer distance than you’re used to without a gradual build-up.
However, it’s not only runners who are susceptible to shin splints. People who frequently do high-intensity exercise programs can also become plagued with shin splints, especially if they have a weak core and hip. Additionally, individuals with flatter feet or higher arches than average are more likely to experience shin splints.
Although the pain from shin splints can cause you to change your running or exercising habits temporarily, you shouldn’t worry too much about it. There are several stretches and exercises to help you feel better and prevent shin splints from disrupting your fitness journey in the future.
What Are the Best Shin Splint Stretches I Can Do at Home?
Here are some of the best shin splint stretches we recommend to help you strengthen your feet, hips, and lower legs so you can get back on track:
Shin Splint Stretch # 1: Foot stretch
This exercise can help release tightness in your feet.
- Stand with your feet together.
- Kneel down while keeping your toes tucked under your feet and your hands on the top of your thighs. The pressure should be on your knees and the balls of your feet.
- To feel the stretch more, sit back on your heels while keeping your hands on top of your thighs.
- Hold the position for 45 seconds.
Shin Splint Stretch # 2: Straight-leg Calf Raises
This exercise can strengthen the gastroc and soleus muscles, which will help reduce the pressure on your shin bone.
- Stand on the edge of a step or an elevated box.
- Drop your heels toward the floor while keeping your legs straight.
- Push up onto your toes so that your heels are in the air.
- Slowly lower back down, repeat 10-12 times and repeat with the other leg.
Shin Splint Stretch # 3: Banded Ankle Inversions
This exercise targets and strengthens the muscles of the inner shin.
- Tie one end of a resistance band around something stable, like the leg of a sturdy table or pole, and the other end around your right foot.
- Sit on the ground with your right leg stretched out straight in front of you, with the table on your right. Make sure there is enough tension in the band.
- Use your foot to pull the band away from the table or towards the inside of your body.
- Return to the starting position and repeat 10-12 times. Repeat the exercise on your left foot and make sure the table is on the left side.
Shin Splint Stretch # 4: Soleus Squat
This exercise will strengthen the soleus and the quads. These two muscles are essential for absorbing impact when you’re running.
- Slide your back down a wall until your knees are bent about 80 degrees.
- Push up on your toes, so your heels are in the air.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds, and repeat 3-4 times.
Shin Splint Stretch # 5: Step-ups
Step-ups are another exercise that can help strengthen your glutes, which are crucial for absorbing load when running.
- Find a step or elevated box a few inches lower than your knees (if you want more of a challenge, make the step higher).
- Place one foot on the step and stand up, driving your knee upward into a running position. Be careful not to push off with your back leg.
- Slowly lower your foot back down to the ground. Repeat 10-12 times on each side.
Shin Splint Stretch # 6: Toe and Heel Walk
This exercise targets your ankles, calves, and anterior tibialis muscles in the front to help you relieve pain from your shin splints.
- Stand with your shoulder-width apart.
- Lift yourself onto your toes and slowly roll back onto your heels. Do this a few times until you get comfortable with the movement.
- When you’re comfortable, raise back up to your toes and walk a few steps forward or until your space allows it.
- When you turn around, walk back using your heels.
- Do 3-5 rounds.
We’re Looking Forward to Helping You at Our Chiropractic Offices in NJ!
We hope these exercises and stretches will help you with your shin splints. However, if the pain persists, don’t be afraid to seek out help from a professional. Chiropractic adjustments can quickly help alleviate pain in your joints and allow you to function at a grander capacity. Your chiropractor can also tailor a specific set of exercises just for you to help speed up your healing process.
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. After all, our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices in Cliffside Park, NJ, and Hackensack, NJ, are ready to welcome you!