For runners, other athletes or those dedicated to physical fitness, the nagging or chronic pain of shin splints is difficult to endure. This condition is accompanied by pain and tenderness in the lower leg between the knee and the foot. Shin splints are usually the result of injury to or overuse of these muscles and tendons. Treatment includes the use of rest, ice and medicine. However, warm-up exercises can help strengthen the muscles and tendons in the shin region.
Experts at The Walking Site claim heel walking to be the "easiest way to strengthen your shin." When heel walking, you should have a slow, small stride of 6 inches or less. As you walk on your heels, point your toes as high as you can for maximum shin benefit. Walk for 25 yards at a time unless pain increases and then you should stop and stretch the shin area before resuming your heel walking.
Toe walking is similar to heel walking, according to the website Peak Performance. During this exercise, you begin by pointing toes forward and raising yourself as high as you can on your tiptoes. Start with small steps, and walk this way for 20 meters. Next, rotate your legs from the hip so that the toes are pointing outward and continue walking on your tiptoes. Finally, walk with your legs rotated inward from the hip so that the toes are pointing inward. Repeat each of these steps at least once more.
The Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma (NISMAT) recommends toe taps for your shins. While sitting in a straight-backed chair, rest your arms on your thighs. Flex your toes up toward your shins, and then rapidly tap them back down on the floor. The tapping should continue through five repetitions of 20 seconds each.
Heel Step Downs
Both the Sports Injury Bulletin and Peak Performance recognise heel step downs as effective shin exercises. Begin heel step downs by standing straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step one foot forward as if taking a natural step. As your heel touches the ground, use your shin muscles to keep your toes flexed so that your sole does not touch the ground. Place your feet back together and repeat the process with the other foot. Start with 15 repetitions for each foot, and gradually increase to three sets of 15 reps.
Wall Shin Raises
Wall shin raises are an effective exercise for shin splints, according to the Sports Injury Bulletin. Simply stand with your shoulders and butt up against a wall. With your heels up against the wall, flex both feet as high toward your shins as possible. Lower your feet to the ground, but do not let the toes touch. Complete 12 to 15 repetitions for a good workout for your shins. As you build up strength, increase the repetitions.
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