Shin splints or stress fractures occur indiscriminantly and can be unbearably painful. Preventing lower-leg injuries with strength training and stretching will increase your ability to perform regular activities and exercise without shin pain or related obstacles. Although more often associated with athletes and runners, shin problems affect people in all walks of life. Loosening persistent tightness in calf muscles will improve your efforts to strengthen your shin muscles, and light stretching before and after even daily activity will help prevent the recurring pain.
Things You'll Need
- Light free-weights, 5 to 10 lbs. (optional)
- Step or stairs
Warm up your body before strength training. Perform 10 to 15 minutes of moderate-pace walking or light calisthenics.
Stretch after your warm-up. In addition to other stretching, take a short step forward with one foot, leaning into the forward leg while keeping your rear foot flat on the ground to stretch the lower leg. Repeat on the other leg.
Hold weights, if desired, and position your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly roll up onto the balls of your feet into a calf-raise. Hold the raise for a few moments, then slowly come down with feet flat. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Stand on the edge of a step as if walking up stairs, with just the balls of your feet pressing on the step; your heels should extend off the edge. Very deliberately and holding onto the railing, slowly lower your heels below the edge of the step; your body weight is adding resistance to the stretch for strengthening the muscles. Hold briefly, then come back up to step-level. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps, but move slowly and hold onto the railing for safety.
Engage in plyometric exercises several times a week. The plyometrics can include jumping and related exercises which will enhance your shin muscle strength, leg stability and stamina while reducing your potential for injury or pain.
Tips & Warnings
- If problems persist, consult your physician and consider investing in proper supportive shoes for your regular activity. Shoe inserts for different foot problems, such as flat feet, can improve a lot of sports-related pain.
- STRETCH! Very important for all of the muscles.
- If you do have shin splints, make sure you give them time to heal before continuing your routine.
- Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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