Health & Nutrition

6 Exercises Help Prevent Shin Splints

How to use this list: Complete 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps of the following shin splint exercises every day (just not before a run!).

You will need a step and a looped resistance band. An exercise mat is optional.

1. Toe Curl

Stand with feet hip-width apart, right foot on a towel. With the toes of your right foot, gather the towel and slowly pull it toward you. Release the towel and let your toes relax. Repeat. Then switch sides.

2. Monster Walk

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and place a resistance band around thighs. Keep feet far enough apart to maintain tension on the band. Step forward with the left foot then the right foot. Then step to the left with left foot then the right foot. Step backward with the left foot then the right foot. Step right with the right foot then the left foot. (Basically walk in a square.) Repeat, going in the opposite direction.

3. Heel Drop

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Stand with feet staggered on a step with right toes on the edge of the step. Shift weight to right leg and bend left knee to lower right heel down below the step. Then lift heel. Repeat. Then switch sides.

4. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Lie faceup with arms resting at sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Extend right leg straight out so that knees are in line. Squeeze glutes, engage left hamstring, and drive foot into floor to lift hips up off the floor. Lower hips back down. Repeat. Then switch sides.

5. Point and Flex

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Stand with hands on hips and shift weight to the left leg. Then lift the right leg straight out, a few inches off floor. Flex right toes toward shin, then point toes away from shin. That’s one rep. Repeat. Then switch sides.

6. Toe Walk

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Stand with feet together and arms at sides. Rise up onto toes. Step with right foot landing heel first, rolling onto midfoot, then through to the toes and lifting back up onto toes, then do the same with left foot. Continue alternating sides as you step forward. Turn around and repeat.

How to Alleviate Shin Splint Aches

Massage With Ice

Fill a paper cup with water and freeze. After running, massage with comfortable pressure along the inside of the shinbone for 10 to 15 minutes to reduce inflammation.

Add Arch Support

By “lifting” the arch with insoles, you take stress off of the lower legs. You don’t need to use arch supports forever—think of insoles as a splint for your foot; you can remove them once you’re fully recovered. You may need to experiment with different styles.

Stretch and Rest

Loosen tight calves and Achilles tendons, as both can contribute to shin splints. Reduce running mileage and do low-impact cross-training (think: biking, swimming, elliptical) instead. When you resume your training, ease in gradually—too much too soon could cause a relapse.

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