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Spring Running Fix: Exercise to Prevent Shin Splints

Whether you've moved your runs from the treadmill to the road or you're upping your mileage to train for a race, you might have ended up with a painful case of shin splints. These occur when you overstress the muscles in your lower legs, causing small tears in the tissue. If you start to experience this pain, it's not a serious injury, but it is also nothing to be ignored. To heal the tears, it's best to lower the intensity of your run by walking instead, or add incline to the treadmill. If the pain is really bad, take a break from running and do some lower leg stretches and ice the area.

Since shin splints can happen when your calf muscles become stronger than the shin muscles, one way to prevent shin splints in the first place is to do some strengthening exercises. Heel walks are beneficial, but here's a simple move you can do while at your desk.

  • Sit on a chair that's tall enough to allow your toes to point without touching the floor.
  • Place a two- to six-pound dumbbell vertically in between your feet, squeezing the weight gently to keep it in place.
  • Begin by pointing your toes toward the floor. Then flex your feet and lift your toes as high as you can. This is one repetition.
  • Complete three sets of 12 reps, stretching your shins with the Reclining Hero in between each set.
Source: POPSUGAR Studios
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annamonette annamonette 2 years

Gosh. Wish I knew this before my run this weekend! Major case of shin splints!

nancyeinhart nancyeinhart 2 years

How helpful! I haven't heard this before. THanks!

jaymarch jaymarch 3 years
This is a good exercise for anterior shin splints. If this doesn't help, there are ways to to fix shin splints. Rest, new shoes, getting rid of muscle weaknesses works the best.
chameleon7 chameleon7 8 years
I have them right now, but they are almost gone. I do to the exercise you have pictured with the chair, but I do it sitting on the floor with a thera-band attached to my treadmill and do 3 sets of 40 per leg and after one time doing it there has been a big difference (compared for the toe taps I was doing before switching).
shiningeyes shiningeyes 8 years
Thanks for this, Fit! I get shin splits more often that I'd like. I'll try these exercises.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I used to do that too mondaymoos...you're right, it really helps. I also like doing toe taps (stand against a wall and keep your leg straight with heel on floor, then tap your foot until you feel the burn in your shins) to warm up before running.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
In bootcamp, they had us stretch by spelling out the alphabet in the air with our toes. It worked pretty well actually. :)
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