Shin splints usually occur when you’re pushing yourself too hard and overusing your legs. If you have shin splints, it may also be a sign that some other part of your legs or body is weaker than it should be.  The shins end up doing more work than they should causing pain that takes over two months to fully heal. Here are a few exercises you can do to strengthen the rest of your legs, feet, and ankles so that you lessen your chances of getting shin splints.

  1. Toe Curls – This exercise helps you strengthen your toes and your arches. The stronger your feet are, the more pressure they can safely handle when you are moving. This means less work from your shins.
  2. Heel Drop – Use step and take a step using only the front of your foot, gripping with the ball of your foot and your toes. Slowly lower your heel down until it goes an inch lower than the step. Slowly raise your foot back up until it is even and repeat 3-5 times. Switch feet.
  3. Toe Raises – Now turn and face down the stairs. Place your heels firmly on the edge of the stair and slowly lower your toes until they go down about an inch under the stairs. Slowly lift your toes back up until they are even with the stair and repeat 3-5 times. Switch feet.
  4. Run on the Elliptical – If you normally run on the treadmill, take a break and try the elliptical instead. Shifting the weight and pressure of your calves will help relieve the pain and prevent further injury.

Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been treating and educating patients with foot and ankle ailments for over eighteen years. If you have any questions, call our Centreville, VA office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.

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