For an athlete nothing is more painful than a shin splint as it slows them down tremendously. Running is one of the main causes of a shin splint injury and it can affect anyone who run and jog. Having them is frustrating, but can be managed.
The pain caused by them can be brought down through doing specific exercises for shin splints. Sore shins can be soothed and comforted by doing some basic stretching exercises. A shin splint can be caused due to excessive strain on the thigh/calf muscles. The pain interferes with your daily activities and can restrict a person from leading a normal lifestyle that they are used to.
Here are some simple tips that can help you recover from shin splints:
- If you are suffering from a shin splint choose a well fitting shoe that gives adequate support to your feet. Ill fitting, tight and constricting shoes often aggravate the pain in the shin. Choose a shoe that gives support to the arch of the foot and also gives some breathing space for your toes. If you are an athlete it is imperative that you change the shoes every 6 months.
- Use ice packs to ease the aches and pain in the shin. Ice the affected area at least 4 to 6 times in a day for a period of 15 minutes. Put some ice cubes in a clean piece of cloth and place it on the thigh and calf muscles.
- Take a break from severe activities like running, biking and swimming for example. However do not stop physical activity altogether. Make sure you walk and remain active even though you have pain.
- When the calf muscles become tight they contribute to the pain experienced due to shin splints. Stretch your calf muscles to improve blood circulation in the leg and loosen the muscles.
Exercises that help: These exercises should be performed only after you get some relief from the pain you’re experiencing. The moment you realize that the pains are getting worse stop exercising and see a doctor.
- Stretch your shin: To perform this exercise start by leaning against a wall or a strong door. The anterior tibilais needs to be strengthened and to do this stand with your heels place against the wall. The entire body should be aligned with the wall when you perform this exercise. Gently move your toes towards the shin and hold it in that position for 5 seconds. This kind of exercise is also called ‘Dorsiflexion.’ Release your toes and repeat this exercise for 15 minutes. As the pain reduces in the shin you can do more repetitions. This exercise helps to strengthen the shins and improve blood circulation to the affected area.
- Stretch the calf muscle: Stretching the calf muscles will strengthen the shin and reduce the pain that you experience. The ‘gastrocnemius’ needs to be stretched and it is the bigger group of muscles in the calf area. To start this exercise stand facing the wall and keep one foot apart from the other in the front. Keep the leg that you are stretching straight and bend your knee slightly and gradually. Use force and try to push against the wall using your hands. When you perform the exercise you will feel the calf muscles stretching. Repeat this exercise for about 5 seconds with both the legs and follow a repetition regime of 15 times.
- Stretch your thigh: The thigh area is also called the ‘soleus’ and stretching this part will provide support for the shin. To start this exercise face against the wall and bend your knee slightly. The upper body should be upright while your knees are bent. Try to stay in this position for about 30 seconds. A repetition of 3 times will suffice on a daily basis.
Exercise should be discontinued at any point when the level of discomfort increases. However these exercises can be performed every day even after you recover from shin splints to avoid future injuries. Also make sure that you wear comfortable shoes while performing these exercises.