Shin Splints | Top 5 Exercises

Shin Splints exercises should always include stability & strength exercises. As we discussed in our previous blog Shin Splints | Treatment, rest and stretching alone will not cure Shin Splints…neither will focusing on the shin alone.

Historically Shin Splints exercises have focused on calf muscle strengthening alone, with additional aids such as insoles. Commonly these will give short term relief BUT will not get to the root cause of the problem. The following 5 Shin Splints exercises incorporate a range of mobility, stability and strength work. Targeting both the foot and ankle, as well as the trunk and pelvic control. This is a key area where lack of control can have a knock on effect causing overload to the shin. Ensuring all the pieces of the puzzle are tested allows us to get a full picture as to the root cause of ‘WHY?’ you may get Shin Splints in the first place,  as discussed in our RUN EDUCATION blog on Functional Movement Screening. This is an essential part of our RUN | SCORE assessments.

Take a look at the videos below for the top 5 Shin Splints exercises. It is recommended you perform these exercises for a period of 6-12 weeks even if your symptoms are feeling better. We are aiming to make a lasting change!

*If you experience any pain during or after each exercise then stop immediately and consult a Physiotherapist*


SHIN SPLINTS EXERCISES

CALF RELEASE WITH FOAM ROLLER

Goal: Improve calf muscle mobility & reduce stiffness around the inside of the shin

How often?: Daily for a few minutes at a time. Either before, in-between or after exercise

Instructions: Place your calf on the roller, using your other foot and hands for support. Roll the whole length of the calf muscle (avoiding the Achilles tendon), turning your foot in/out as you do so. If you’re able to you can try putting 1 leg over the top of the other. **This will always be tender to some degree whether you have a problem or not. Over the first week or 2 this should gradually get easier** 


SHIN RELEASE WITH FOAM ROLLER

Goal: Improve foot/toe extensor mobility & reduce stiffness over the front of the shin

How often?: Daily for a few minutes at a time. Either before, in-between or after exercise

Instructions:  Kneeling with the roller on the front of the shins. Using your hands for support in an all 4’s position. Roll the legs out and in putting pressure on the outside of the shins. **This will also challenge your core stability at the same time**


DEEP CALF RAISES ON STEP

Goal: Isolate & strengthen the deep calf muscles to improve foot stability

How often?: Aim for x4 sets of x12 repetitions. Twice a day. Every other day

Instructions: Ideally barefoot (or in trainers if more comfortable) on the edge of a step with 2 feet. Keeping the knees slightly bent. Slowly raise up and down at the ankle holding onto the wall or a rail for support. You should feel a good workout into the calf muscles. You can progress this onto 1 foot BUT ONLY if 2 feet is easy or you’ve built up over 3-6 weeks


SPLIT SQUAT ON STEP

Goal: Improve trunk, hip & foot stability along with thigh strength

How often?: Aim for x4 sets of x12 reps on each leg. Twice a day. Every other day

Instructions: Ideally barefoot (or in trainers if more comfortable). Standing in a split squat stance with the toes of the front foot on the edge of a step, and the toes of the other foot behind with the knee bent to the floor. Using a wall for support if needed. Slowly raise the back knee up and down aiming to maintain the arch of the front foot


CRAB WALKS ON TOES

Goal: Improve dynamic trunk & lateral hip stability along with thigh & calf strength

How often?: (1 rep is 2 steps left, and back) Aim for x4 sets of x8 repetitions. Twice a day. Every other day

Instructions: Standing with a loop band above the knees, and holding up on your toes. Take 2 side steps to the right, then back to the left. You can hold onto the wall for support if needed. **You can bring the loop band around the ankles to make this harder**


When it comes to treating and curing Shin Splints don’t just take our word for it. Our next blog ‘Shin Splints | My Story’ includes a personal encounter from one of our patients who followed these steps to recovery.


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Running is Evolving. Keep up with the pace!