As with all musculoskeletal conditions, exercise is essential for a full resolution. Just because passive therapy has eliminated the symptoms does not mean the condition will not return. The following exercises are example of exercises that we prescribe to our patients with shin splints. (Photo Kara Goucher)
Strengthening Exercise – Example
Shin Raises – This is a great exercise for strengthening the dorsi flexors. It is best not to overdue this exercise at first, give your dorsi flexors time to adapt to the exercise. Slowly increase to the recommended number of repetitions and sets.
- Stand with your back to the wall, have your feet about 12-18 inches away from the wall.
- Lean back against a wall with your shoulders and gluteus touching the wall.
- Keep your heels on the ground, dorsi flex both ankles at the same time to maximum dorsiflexion. Then slowly lower your feet to almost touching the ground and repeat immediately.
- Do 10 to 15 repetitions then walk around for a short time. Do a total of 2 to 5 sets, depending on the strength of your dorsiflexors.
- Repeat this exercise every other day. Once you have done this exercise for several weeks, combine this exercise with version two.
Version Two: This exercise is similar to version one except in two important aspects. First, the repetitions are performed at a much faster rate. Second the range of motion in which the exercise is performed is reduced.
Stretching Exercises - Example
Dynamic Shin Stretch – This dynamic stretches should be performed after a short warm-up. They are great for developing shin strength and overall motion control.
- With your feet straight ahead walk on your heels (maximum dorsi flexion) with short steps for about 15 – 25 meters, depending on your strength. Your legs should be straight, but your knees should not be hyper extended.
- Next do exactly the same procedure, but this time with your feet turned outward.
- Finally perform the same procedure with your feet turned inward.
- Note: This exercise can also be performed on your toes.
There are numerous strengthening and dynamic stretching exercises that we recommend to our patients for the prevention and treatment of shin splints. The exact exercises that we recommend will vary depending on which areas of the patient’s kinetic chain are weak or restricted. In prescribing exercises, it is very common to prescribe both core and hip exercises as well as the exercises that directly affect the muscles of the shins.
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