Rehab Shin Splints With These 6 Easy Stretches

Kneeling Stretch

woman exercising with medicine ball

Any runner who has suffered from shin splints knows how painful and annoying they can be. A common running injury, shin splints are usually caused by constant overuse from running that leads to inflammation of the muscles and tendons that attach to the tibia. They can also be caused by running in worn-out running shoes or not wearing the proper shoes for your foot and running gait.

Fortunately, shin splints are fairly easy to treat. Typically, icing the painful area and taking a couple days off from running can clear them up. Doing these stretches can also help you rehab shin splints, and hopefully prevent a recurrence. Try to incorporate a few of them into your stretching routine, as it's important to do a range of stretching exercises for your upper and lower calf.

Kneeling Stretches

This relaxing move stretches the muscles in the front of your leg, and also feels great.

1. On a mat or soft surface, get into a kneeling position. Tuck your toes under so that your weight is on the balls of your feet. Your butt should be resting on the back of your ankles.

2. Lean forward and reach your arms out in front of you. You can rest your hands on an object, such as a medicine ball (as pictured), or on the floor. The tops of your feet should now be flat against the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.

3. Now sit back onto your heels. Your feet should still be flat against the floor. Stay in that position for 30 seconds.

Seated Calf Stretch With Exercise Band

Man Exercising with Resistance band
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Here's another easy calf stretch that can help alleviate and prevent shin splints. You'll need an exercise band or towel to perform it.

1. Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.

2. Loop an exercise band or towel around the bottom of your feet and gently pull back so that your toes are moving toward you. Once you can move your toes as far as they can go, hold for 30 seconds.

3. You can do both legs at once or one at a time.

Standing Toe-up Achilles Stretch

Man stretching and smiling
Diane Collins and Jordan Hollender / Getty

This one is another calf stretch that can help with shin splints pain.

1. Stand up and place the ball of your foot onto a step, bench, curb, or other raised object.

2. Bend your knee and lean forward while letting your heel drop downward. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

3. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Standing Calf Stretch

Woman stretching at home
Corina Marie Howell / Image Source / Getty

Runners with shin splints often have very tight calf muscles. This is a great stretch to relieve tightness in the back of your calves.

1. Place both hands on a wall (or tree) with your arms extended.

2. Lean against the wall with one leg bent forward and the other leg extended back with your knee straight and foot facing forward.

3. Keep the heel of your rear foot on the ground.

4. If you don't feel the stretch, move your back leg back a few more inches, but make sure you keep the heel of your rear foot on the ground.

5. Feel the stretch in the calf of that leg, and hold 30 to 60 seconds.

6. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Calf Raises

heel raise exercise

Calf raises stretch your calf muscles, while also building strength.  Here's what to do:

1. While standing, lift both of your heels off the ground so that you’re on the balls of your feet.

2. Slowly lower your heels to the starting position.

3. Do three sets of 10-15 repetitions.

4. Once that becomes too easy, try doing the exercise one leg at a time. You can also hold light dumbbells as you do the exercise to increase the difficulty and calorie burn.

Wall Shin Raises

Here's another easy stretch to do.

1. Stand with your back against a wall.

2. Place your heels about a foot away from the wall, while your body is resting against the wall. Start to bring your toes up while your heels stay on the ground.

3. Stretch your toes up as far as possible, and then slowly lower your feet back toward the ground.

4. Try to keep your toes pointing up and prevent them from touching the ground before your next repetition.

5. Do three sets of 10-15 reps.

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