Although you may have heard the term before, you may not know exactly what a “shin splint” is. It’s a common term for painful inflammation at the front of the tibia caused by strenuous activity. Medical professionals refer to it as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). The following exercises will not only help to prevent shin splints or MTSS, but the first two exercises can also help relieve some of the agony for those who are already suffering from the syndrome. If you already have shin splints, use care and restraint in performing these exercises.
Spread Toe Elevation – Stand with your heels together, toes pointed outward and rise slowly on your toes. Hold for a few moments and then lower your heels slowly to the floor. Perform ten times.
Tuck Toe Elevation – Start with your big toes together, heels spread apart, and rise slowly on your toes. Hold for a few moments and then lower your heels slowly to the floor. Perform ten times.
Edge of Oblivion – Don’t let the name scare you. By using this exercise, you can prevent future shin splints, sending them into oblivion! However, this might not be the best way to heal shin splints if you already have them. If that’s the situation you’re in, we’d suggest that you use the other two exercises instead.
- Find a sturdy step stool, stair or curb.
- Face downstairs or away from the stool or curb. Move your feet forward until only your heel is on the edge and most of your foot is dangling over empty air. For balance, hold onto the stair railing or maneuver your stool next to a wall.
- Start with legs straight and point your toes downward as far as they will go (without going so far as to slide off the step).
- Lift your toes as far as they will go.
- Repeat as rapidly as you can.
- Using a timer or watch, perform this exercise for a full 30 seconds. Make certain that you extend and flex fully each time.
- When done, bend your knees at a 45-degree angle and repeat 30 seconds of extensions and flexions. When done, you have completed one full set.
- Rest one to two minutes between sets and repeat until you’ve done three of these two-part sets.
If after the first set, you feel a burning sensation in your lower legs, then you’re likely doing it the right way. If at any point you feel damage is being done, discontinue the exercise.