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Avoid Shin Splints With Heel Walks

One of the dreaded side affects from starting a new walking or running routine is shin splints. The pain down the outside of your lower leg may be caused by a variety of issues, but the calf muscle tends to get stronger before the muscles on the front of the shin. While stretching the calves is intuitive post run, strengthening the opposing muscles on the front of the shin is not. A simple exercise to do just that is heel walks.

The exercise name describes the action quite well. Walk about 20 yards on your heels with toes lifted off the ground. Take small steps and keep your toes, even though they are up off the ground, pointed forward (don't let your toes rotate outward). You can do this exercise barefoot or in your sneakers. It is also a great exercise to incorporate into your dynamic warm-up.

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Join The Conversation
cereal_please cereal_please 9 years
I HATE HATE HATE shin splints! I've been getting them on and off for the last four years. I've always done the exercsies, but ultimately rest is the only way for me to get rid of it.. then i feel like my whole routine is sabotaged. :(
rhistar rhistar 9 years
Fit, I think you are a mind reader. I am catching up with this site in a break at work thinking about how tight my hips are and then I see your yoga stretches. Then after that I see this helpful article and as it happens just yesterday I was looking for ways to combat shin splints. Thanks for using your mind reading powers for good.
InternSugar3 InternSugar3 9 years
thank god, i was worried i would have to switch to a bike since my shin splints were hurting so much! this will help!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
That makes sense that the calves get stronger more quickly than the shin muscles. I never knew that was a cause of shin splints. I'll definitely do this.
sldc sldc 9 years
How have I never heard of this?! Great tip!
ShePirate2010 ShePirate2010 9 years
the job i work at will prolly give me spilnt shins, god....ouch
wren1 wren1 9 years
I've started doing this and mine are not as bad. Great tip!
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 9 years
Last spring, I started my running routine without building up after taking a few months off(because of winter weather). OMG - I messed up my shins bad and still haven't fully recovered. It sucks!
JenSaysThis JenSaysThis 9 years
I will give this a try tomorrow morning. Thanks for the tip!
glam-sugar glam-sugar 9 years
That's a really good exercise, I should incorporate it into my regular routine.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
lattegoodness - I think that means don't let them point outward. When you're walking on your heels, I could see how you might start to point out or in. So keep your toes up and straight.
lattegoodness lattegoodness 9 years
I am so confused. :? You're supposed to lift your toes up, but have them still pointed forward... how is that possible?
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
MindayH have you gone to the dr? A friend of mine (pretty serious runner) said I should check with the dr bc if they didn't heal after a month I might have more serious damage. Are MBTs those fancy shoes? How much are they?
MindayH MindayH 9 years
Renees - mine don't seem to ever go away either, but my MBT's have made so much of a difference.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I wish I'd known about these when I started my running program. It took a good two months and some pretty fancy insoles before I finally stopped getting shin splints.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I'm actually calling my Dr today about these. I took a Month off of running and started back up just last week. The shin pain is still there, pretty bad, so I think it might be something worse, which SUCKS. I'm praying not. I'll still do these exercises though!
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