Shin Splints

Ouch. You ever get shin splints. The very uncomfortable pain, most commonly associated with your anterior shin bone (tibia). Well, often times people who are de-conditioned and out of shape experience this problem when they:

  • Go from sedentary and inactive to weight bearing and active
  • Go from sedentary and/or walking to linear, multi-directional or stop + start running
  • change running surfaces: grass to turf, pavement, concrete or wood
  • wear improper footwear: old, worn out sneakers or poorly fitting sneakers
  • have poor foot musculature (soft feet as opposed to strong, muscular feet)
  • have weak (lack of stability or loose) or jacked up (lack of mobility or stiff) ankles
  • have weak anterior shin muscles
  • have poor hip mobility (stiff hips)
  • have poor lumbar spine stability (weak core)
  • have poor recovery from activity
  • forgot their shin pads and got kicked by your partner in Krav Maga

Why does this happen?

The most common reason they experience this is because their feet are soft from wearing soft shoes. Their ankles are weak and stiff from previous ankle sprains or sitting too often and for too long. Their calves, Achilles tendon or entire lower leg musculatures are tight from also sitting too often and for too long. They lack mobility in their hips (too stiff, not a good dancer) and their core is probably weak (unstable and soft like a bowl full of jelly). You could go further and say their thoracic spine is stiff (upper back), their scapulo-thoracic joint (shoulder blade) is unstable and weak and their gleno-humeral or shoulder joint is stiff and weak. The whole kinetic chain is usually messed up, but not in all cases.

What do you do?

Here’s an 11 point action plan I use in my Newton (Boston) Change Your Body Boot Camps to correct shin splints for my participants from acute symptomatic treatment of the actual pain on your shins (ouch!) to the long term resolution of your issue, sometimes it’s even instantaneous relief, just ask Flo.

1. Ice massage with an ice cup (paper cup filled with water and frozen) rubbed over pain site for 10min (if cold sensitive, take off and put back on when tolerable)

2. Foam Roll calf and Achilles tendon. Turn foot in & out.

3. Foam Roll peronneals on the lateral aspect of the lower leg. This is the Curt Shilling muscle from the blood sox or sock days of 2004.

4. Foam Roll the shins

5. Lacrosse ball roll on foot

6. 3-Directional Flat Ankle Mobes (straight over 2nd toe, diagonally towards big toe & pinky toe)

7. 3-Directional Incline Ankle Mobes (straight over 2nd toe, diagonally over big & pinky toes)

8. Frontal Plane ankle mobes (pronation & supination)

9. Active Shin Stretch

10. Active Gastrocnemius Stretch

11. Active Soleus Stretch

Give it a whirl and post a comment below to let me know how it works for you.

Your coach,

Mike Alves

Boston Boot Camp

Newton Boot Camp

Change Your Body Boot Camps