Shin splints are a common injury for runners and can have a number of causes. Inflexibility is one of the major factors, particularly in the hamstrings and calves. Here are three exercises that can reduce your risk of getting shin splints as a runner.
Touch your toes
This is a good daily stretch to incorporate as it stretches your hamstrings which reduces their tightness. Running injuries are often caused by your body compensating for a particular weakness in another part of your body, and shin splints are the same. To perform this stretch, from a standing position gradually reach towards your toes with your hands whilst keeping your back straight. Don’t overstretch if this is new to you as you could overextend a muscle. Keeping your hamstrings limber by practising this stretch regularly will reduce your risk of getting shin splints.
This stretch is good for strengthening your hips, which play an important role in the mechanics of running. To perform this stretch, start in a standing position and stick one of your legs out behind you so that it rests horizontally behind you (it could be on a bed for example). Then, do a squat with your standing foot and make sure to keep your back straight. Repeat this with your other legs, and this will strengthen each hip.
Calf raises are a great way increase the strength in your calves, which should mitigate the risk of getting shin splints. To perform a calf raise, you can stand on the bottom step of the stairs and put your feet so that only the ball of your feet are on the step. Lower your heels and raise them back up to perform a calf raise. If you want to make it more difficult as you get stronger you can do a calf raise with only one leg.
These stretches are a good way of avoiding shin splints by targeting specific muscles and areas to strengthen or increase flexibility. Strength and flexibility are the most important concepts to consider when it comes to avoiding running.