If you suffer from shin splints, you may be frustrated at repeatedly having to take time off from running to allow your shins to heal. It may seem like you can only run for a few days at a time before the shin splints re-appear. That's because to really deal with shin splints properly, you need to do more than just rest. You should really focus on doing some exercises to strengthen the muscles along the front of your leg and also stretch out your calves. Here are three such exercises to include in your routine:
To do this exercise, you stand with your back leaning against a wall. Support all of your weight on your heels, which should be positioned about 8 inches from the base of the wall. Reach up with your toes, concentrating on bringing them towards your shins. You should feel the stretch through your calves. Hold this stretch for about 15 seconds, and then lower your toes to the ground. Do the stretch again, this time trying to stretch your toes up further for an even greater effect. Hold for 15 seconds, take a pause, and then repeat the stretch a third time, again with a deeper stretch than before.
Heel Stair Walks
This exercise will help strengthen the muscles in the front of your legs. It's really easy to do if you have a staircase -- just go down on your heels, allowing the front of your foot to stretch over the front of the stair. Hold the railings to make sure you do not trip and fall. Do this a few times a day -- whenever you happen to go up and down the stairs is fine. It's best to do the exercise without shoes, as this allows your foot to flex and absorb the shock better.
Shin Band Stretches
This final exercise stretches out your shins. It's a good one to do when your shins are feeling particularly painful and tight. Wrap a resistance band around a table leg, then put your toe through the resistance band and pull back with your body so that your foot and leg flatten. Feel the stretch through your shin, and hold the position for 10 seconds. Rest, and repeat the stretch about 4 more times.
If the exercises above do not ease your shin pain, contact a physical therapist who specializes in sports rehabilitation. Companies like Atlantic Physical Therapy Center can offer more information.