Shin Splint Pain: 5 Crucial Tips for Prevention and Relief

Ariana Purificati Fune

Feeling pain in your shins that doesn’t seem to go away? We’ve got some at-home remedies that will have you feeling relief in no time.

Shin splints can result from a combination of causes so there is no single solution that will provide total relief. Fortunately, a comprehensive recovery plan can help to effectively prevent, and relieve shin splint pain so that you can get back to doing what you love, faster.

As we have outlined before in the Sidekick Blog:

The tibia bone is located where the shin is, and the pain is caused because of the inflammation to the area around that particular bone. The tendons, bone tissues and muscles are affected when that area is overworked.

This article will walk you through a combination of stretching, strengthening, and mobility exercises that will help you relieve your pain.

Stretching

Built-up tension in the shins and calves is often linked to the dysfunction and discomfort felt as shin splints. A consistent stretching program is effective for releasing tension and relieving inflammation in the lower leg.

Hold each of these stretches for 30-60 seconds, repeating at least once per day.

Tibialis Anterior Stretch. Point your toes down and lean forward, feeling the stretch on the front/outside of the shin.

Calf Stretch. Put your toes against the wall and lean forward, feeling the stretch in the back of the leg.

Rolling

Studies have shown that in combination with stretching, foam rolling may reduce stiffness and increase the range of motion in muscles with built-up tension1.

The Sidekick Flare adds extra healing elements beyond those of a regular roller, as mentioned previously in our blog:

Foam rollers are a great, simple way to redice soreness after a workout. They work to massage your muscles and increase blood flow and oxygen to the tissue, aiding in the recovery process. They’re light and portable and can accompany you to any post-workout session. Sidekick also has a vibrating foam roller that generates heat that is 4x more effective than a regular roller.

Starting below the knee, working down towards the ankle, roll out the muscles on each side of the lower leg for 30-60 seconds. Repeat this at least once a day.

Strengthening

With the constant impact of running and jumping, the muscles of the lower leg can easily become overworked and fatigued. Muscular fatigue can lead to improper running mechanics, lack of shock absorption, and therefore shin splints. These exercises will improve the strength and endurance of the shin and calf muscles so they can resist this fatigue. 

Perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise. Repeat 3-4 days per week. 

Tibialis Anterior Strength. Keep your weight on your heels. Bring your toes up and down, slow and controlled.

Single-Leg Calf Raise. Explode onto your toes, lower down slowly.

Tibialis Posterior Strength. Point your toes to the ceiling then slowly pull them back towards your shin.

Ankle Mobility

Constant impact on the tibia is often a major source of shin splint pain. When your ankle is moving properly, it can absorb shock so that your tibia doesn’t have to take all of the forces when running and jumping. You can improve your ankle movement by performing this mobility exercise.

Perform 15 reps on each ankle, with or without a band, at least once per day.

Ankle Dorsiflexion Mobility. Lean as far forward as possible while keeping your heel on the ground.

Instant Pain Relief

Fire and frost cream – counterirritants will activate either the heat or cold receptors, therefore, interrupting pain signals to the brain. Applying a thin layer to the areas on your shins that are feeling sore and feel an increase in comfort.

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Shin splints can be a result of multiple causes such as constant impact to the tibia, stiffness in the lower leg muscles, and improper ankle mobility. In order to feel complete relief, it is necessary to target each one of these causes through different treatments. Overall, the best approach to shin splint recovery is a comprehensive program that includes stretching, strengthening, mobility, and scraping

If you’re looking for further guidance on recovery exercises, The Sidekick App provides a personalized mobility program with videos for your shins and any other body part. Get access to Sidekick University from both the Google Play and the IOS Store now!

References

  1. Hendricks, S., Hill, H., Hollander, S. den, Lombard, W., & Parker, R. (2020). Effects of foam rolling on performance and recovery: A systematic review of the literature to guide practitioners on the use of foam rolling. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 24(2), 151–174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2019.10.019 
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Ariana Purificati Fune

Ariana is a Certified Personal Trainer and holds a BSc in Kinesiology. She has a passion for making fitness inclusive and accessible to everyone.

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