It is spring! The temperature is rising and garage doors are opening. This can only mean one thing…RUNNING!!
Unfortunately, along with the nicer weather comes a common overuse injury as we venture out to run. Shin splints. For those of you that have experienced this condition, you know that it can be debilitating.
This shin pain occurs when muscles in the lower leg become irritated and swollen, often from “too much, too soon” of a new activity (specifically running). It is very common after a break from running (winter) and then starting up again (spring). It can even be a sign of weakness and/or imbalance in our hips, ankles or feet.
The worst part of shin splints is that the only way to stop the pain is the 4-letter word we all hate to hear: REST. And not just a couple days rest, studies show it can take up to 70 days of rest to completely heal these tissues.
Rather than treating this condition, with rest, ice, ibuprofen, repeat…let’s be proactive. The best way to prevent shin splints is to prepare the muscles of the lower legs for the upcoming “running wod” season.
We’ve listed a few easy-to-perform exercises below that will help strengthen your hips, ankles, and feet. Ease back into running comfortably by performing these exercises as follows: 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps (each exercise) 3-4 times per week.
Reach out to your coach with any questions on how to perform these strengthening exercises.
Toe Curls: Stand with feet hip-width apart at the edge of a towel. With the toes of your left foot, gather the towel and slowly pull it toward you. Return to start and repeat with the other foot.
Monster Walks: With feet shoulder-width apart, place a resistance band around your thighs and step forward and toward the right with your right leg. Bring your left leg up to meet your right, then step out toward the left. Then walk backward in the same way to return to the start. Repeat.
Heel Drop: Stand on your toes on the edge of a step. Shift your weight to your right leg, take your left foot off the step, and lower your right heel down. Return to start, and then repeat with your left leg.
One-Legged Bridges: Lie on your back with your arms out to the sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up off the floor. Extend your left leg out and hold for 30 seconds (work up to 60-second holds), then lower it. Repeat with your other leg.
Finally, proper warm up of the lower legs is very important before every workout involving running. Your coach will make sure your calves, shins, ankles and Achilles are primed and ready to go each class. If you are planning a run on your own, make sure to take the time (at least 10 minutes!) to warm up properly.
We can’t wait to race into running season with you all!
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