7 Stretches for Shin Splints

7 Stretches For Shin Splints

Shin splints are painful injuries that occur when your leg muscles become tight due to overuse or injury. They may cause pain in the lower back, hips, knees, ankles and feet.

The most common causes of shin splints include:

Overstressing the muscle group (running) Running too much, jumping from one surface to another, lifting heavy objects and doing other activities that strain the body’s tissues.

Stress fractures in bones (like falling off a ladder) or trauma to the joints (like being hit by a car).

Injuries such as sprains, strains and tears. These tend to heal quickly and do not require treatment.

However, if they persist long enough, they can lead to chronic problems like arthritis and osteoarthritis.

The seven stretches below will help relieve some of the symptoms associated with shin splints. You can perform these stretches at home or after exercise.

1. Hamstring Stretch – Psoas Stretch

Lie face down on the floor with both legs extended straight out in front of you. Keeping your arms straight, slowly bend forward until your thighs touch the ground and then return to starting position without bending forward again.

Repeat 10 times on each side of your thigh. Do not allow any movement in either direction during this stretch; it must remain flat all the way through! This stretch will target the psoas muscles in your groin.

2. Hamstring Stretch – Standing Groin Stretch

To begin, stand with your legs hip-width apart and place your hands on your hips. Let your right leg bend forward as you bend slightly at the waist and allow your left arm to hang straight down.

Gently push your hips forward while twisting at the waist. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch sides.

3. Calf Stretch

Rest the top of your foot on a sturdy chair and slowly lower your heel towards the ground. Do not push too far and if you feel any pain, stop immediately.

Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. You can also do this stretch with both feet firmly on the floor. To increase the stretch, use the entire foot to perform this stretch by pointing and flexing your toes toward your shin and then away from your shin.

4. Achilles Tendon Stretch

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place the toes of your right foot on a step. Lean into the step and allow your heel to bend back as far as you can without feeling pain.

Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch sides.

5. Inguinal Lymph Node Massage

Gently knead the area just above your groin or inner thigh with both hands for about one minute at least twice per day. This will help with lymph flow and ultimately reduce inflammation.

6. Ice Massage

Gently apply ice wrapped in a towel to the shin for a few minutes at least twice each day. Alternatively, you can also place your painful shins in ice cold water for about 5 or 6 minutes at a time.

7. Compression

Wear an elastic support (ACE bandage) to keep your shin muscles from swelling while you sleep. In the morning, remove the bandage and tie it around your foot so that your foot is just barely touching the top of your leg.

Performing these exercises daily or even twice a day should help alleviate the pain caused by shin splints. Continue to do them until you are symptom-free.

In addition, changing your running style and/or shoes may also help prevent future shin splints from occurring.

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The American Council on Exercise

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Mayo Clinic: Heel Pain

Greatist: 4 Ways To Get Rid Of Shin Splints

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photographer: Ryan LLC

Tags: injuries , preventive , shin splints , therapy

Sources & references used in this article:

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How can you help athletes prevent and treat shin splints? by K Carr, E Sevetson – Clinical Inquiries, 2008 (MU), 2008 – mospace.umsystem.edu

Chronic shin splints by DE Detmer – Sports Medicine, 1986 – Springer

Overuse injuries of the lower extremity: shin splints, iliotibial band friction syndrome, and exertional compartment syndromes by DC Jones, SL James – Clinics in Sports Medicine, 1987 – Elsevier