What should you focus on when you have shin splints? Let’s make it easy and just focus on 3 things!
1. Get rid of the pain!
Shin splints are considered an overuse injury which means resting/reducing activity in your lower leg will help control the pain. But make sure you have a game plan to keep good blood flow muscle activation and mobility of your leg and ankle which will be discussed below.
Hit the painful areas
Perform soft tissue release/therapeutic massage to help reduce swelling, improve soft tissue mobility, and increase localized circulation.
Because of pain, you may develop stiffness and reduced muscle activity on your shin/shin muscles leading to poor blood flow which can progress to more stiffness, more pain, and impairing the circulation even more.
2. Fix The ROOT CAUSE
Active and passive joint mobilization exercises or techniques help regain your normal ankle joint gliding necessary for running and will promote improved activation of the muscles attached to the shin.
Active and passive stretching of your calf and tibialis muscles will not only work on improving your muscle’s tissue extensibility but also trains your muscles to relax.
Activate and strengthen your ankle muscles to improve stability and control
- Balance Training – Single leg stance, Lunges on BOSU/Unstable surface
- Resistance band exercises on your ankle targeting your tibialis muscles and ankle evertors
Targeting your ankle stabilizers will reduce shin splints symptoms as it will train your muscles to activate in a consistent manner when placing stress on your shin during a run.
3. Redefine future performance for injury prevention
Be Specific with your exercises!
Build up resiliency in your shin!
Running is considered as a single leg sport which means training your body to develop unilateral strength will greatly benefit you as a runner, improve your overall leg condition, and reduce risks for injury.
Here are our top single leg exercises beneficial for runners:
- Single leg dead lifts
- Split Squats
- Progressive Step ups exercises
- Single leg heel raises
*There is not much evidence about modifying your running shoes on being a factor on how it can prevent or increase your risk of developing/aggravating your shin splints on of the reasons is that our body adjusts well with pretty much any footwear
*In this blog we only focused on the techniques and exercises backed up by good evidence.
Knowing these techniques and exercises will help you improve your symptoms but keep it mind that it has to be done the correct way. Every runner is different which means symptom progression and response to each exercises may also be different and that is why it is recommended to see a local sports physical therapist who can guide you not just to do this exercises correctly but to understand your body and to build a more personalized program for you for the goal of improving your overall peak running performance and for injury-free running!