Shin Splints Exercises
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Stretching exercises are an important part of shin splints treatment in particular stretching the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg.
In many cases of shin splints the calf muscles which consist of the larger gastrocnemius muscle and the lower soleus muscle are tight. Regular stretching exercises combined with sports massage can release tension in these muscles helping to cure and prevent shin splints.
Gastrocnemius muscle stretch
To stretch the larger of the calf muscles lean against a wall with the back leg straight keeping the heel pushed into the floor. A stretch should be felt at the back of the lower leg. If a stretch cannot be felt then move the heel further back. Hold for 20 seconds then relax and repeat 3 times. If the athlete has particularly flexible calf muscles then a more advanced version of the calf stretch can be done on a step.
Play calf stretching exercises video.
Soleus muscle stretch
To to stretch this muscle the knee must be bent to relax the overlying Gastrocnemius. The patient should stand facing a wall with the foot of the calf to be stretched at the back. The knee of the back leg should be bent towards the wall, keeping the heel on the floor. A stretch should be felt in the lower part of the back of the calf. hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. A more advanced version of this stretching exercise is to place the forefoot or the front leg on the wall keeping the heel on the floor and gently push the front knee towards the wall.
Play soleus muscle stretching video.
Seated shin stretch
Stretching the muscles on the front of the lower leg can be difficult to achieve. It is probably more important to stretch the muscles at the back of the lower leg. The athlete kneels down sitting on their heels. Gently push down on the heels to stretch the front of the leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. To increase the stretch do one leg at a time and lift up the knee of the stretching leg.
Play shin stretching exercise video.