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Shin Splints

Shin splints are an over-use injury and are often called "too much, too soon". Shin splints are pain in front of the lower leg and are caused from overworked anterior muscles or because the calf muscles are tight and are pulling the muscles in the front of the leg. Dr. Weisenfeld, in his book The Runner's Repair Manual,  explains that the front muscles are weaker than the posterior muscles and are more sensitive to stress. He explains that the front muscles aren't exercised as much by running and extra exercises are needed to strengthen them.

Weisenfeld further explains that when we run on hard surfaces and/or have shoes with insufficient padding, the front muscles may tighten up with each step to brace against the jolt and to keep the shock from spreading throughout the leg, hip, and spine. The muscles are thus overworking with every step. In addition, the front muscles may tighten up to provide additional stability to the foot. Also, over striding may cause shin splints.

The following stretches are recommended by Weisenfeld for shin splints (he has pictures to illustrate them). All of the stretches except the Furniture lift are illustrated in my stretching pictures page.

bullet Foot press. This is discussed in my stretching page.
 
bullet Inner and outer thighs. This is discussed in my stretching page.
 
bullet Leg lift. The leg lift is where you lie on the ground and lift both legs 3 inches and then 12 inches in the air, keeping the legs straight.
 
bullet Wall pushups. Runners do these to stretch their calves; also, bend both legs when doing the wall pushups to stretch the Soleus muscle.
 
bullet Furniture lift. The furniture lift is where you sit on a chair, put your toes under the edge of another (stuffed) chair or sofa, and try to lift the other chair with your toes. It isn't important that you actually move the other chair, you just want the resistance caused by the chair.
 
bullet Standing leg lifts. In doing standing leg lifts, raise one foot in the air and hold it there for a few seconds, keeping your leg straight. Your muscles are working against gravity.

Here is a nice article on shin splints.

bullet http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/shin.html

The information on this site is for informational purposes only; it does not constitute medical or physical therapy advice. For medical advice, consult a physician. For physical therapy advice, consult a physical therapist.

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The information in this site and in my podcasts is for informational purposes only; it does not constitute medical or physical therapy advice. For medical advice, consult a physician. For physical therapy advice, consult a physical therapist.

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