According to the Mayo Clinic, there are more than 3 million cases of shin splints each year.
Most people who are affected are between the ages of 14-40. Spin splints are a result of overworked tendons, muscles and bone tissues and typically happen when people begin ramping up their training. Shin splints symptoms include pain in the lower legs, but the pain can be treated with ice, rest and pain medications. This common injury is self-treatable and often resolves itself in a few weeks. But shin splints are preventable.
When I was training for my first half marathon I got shin splints. It was wasn’t pretty. But, I followed the recovery steps (ice, rest, pain meds) and I the pain was less severe and I was able to start training again in less than a week. Since then, I haven’t had them and I’ve been logging more miles and running/working harder than ever before. Shin splints are preventable and there are exercises and stretches that athletes can do to be less prone to experiencing this common injury. Don’t let shin splints hold you back from your training, try these three moves to balance out the strength in your legs:
This one is pretty easy and you’ve probably done it before. Begin by lifting your heels, rise on to your toes, then rock back onto your heels while lifting your toes. Do up to 20 reps. If you’re feeling off-balanced while you’re rocking, hold onto something for stability.
Heel & Toe Walks
Want to work all of the muscles in your legs? Do this move! By walking on your heels and your toes you can work all of the muscles in your legs. There are a couple of moves you can start with. First, walk on your toes with both of your feet turned out like a ballerina. You can also walk “pigeon-toed” by walking on your toes with your legs turned in. Heel walks with your feet turned out like a duck with your toes out or with your legs turned in can help to build strength. The motion of turning your feet in and out is coming directly from your hip joints, not your ankles, so you’re less prone to experiencing an injury and you’re able to work all of your legs muscles. Walk for up to 30 minutes in these positions to build strength.
It’s really important to keep your calf muscles long and loose. Stretching throughout the day can make your calves more flexible. Begin by stepping back two feet with your right foot and bend at your left knee. If you want to increase the stretch, press your heel into the ground. Switch legs and repeat until you feel loose.