Shin pain is a common complaint among runners. Athletes just starting a running program in particular risk developing pain if they do not adequately prepare for the impact on the shins. Even though they are a major component of the runner’s stride, shin muscles are not often targeted during conditioning, making them more prone to weakness. Strengthening and stretching the shin muscles will help to improve your running program and avoid injury.
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Standing Shin Stretch
Because you perform this stretch standing and while wearing running shoes, the standing shin stretch is a useful preparation and follow-up to your run. Hold onto a wall or railing for support. Shift your weight to your left leg and bring your right foot back. Point your right foot toward the ground and place the tops of your toes on the ground. Slide your right foot forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your shin. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat three times. Switch legs and stretch your left shin.
Cross-Over Shin Stretch
As with the standing shin stretch, the cross-over stretch is well-suited for pre- and post-running stretching. You can perform this stretch with or without shoes. Start standing with your feet together. Cross your right leg in front of your left leg and place the tops of your pointed right toes on the ground. Bend both legs until you feel a stretch in the top of your right foot and shin. Repeat three times on each foot and hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
Kneeling Shin Stretch
The ideal stretch to perform at home is the kneeling stretch. It stretches your shins while strengthening calves. Kneel on a carpeted area, folded blanket or yoga mat. Point your toes, contracting your calf muscles and stretching your shins. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat two more times.
Manual Shin Stretch
Stretch your shin manually while sitting in a chair. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Remove your shoe. Place your right hand on the back of your right calf to act as a leverage point. Rest the top of your right foot against your left forearm and place your left hand on the top of your ankle or shin. Press down with your left arm until you feel a stretch in your shin and top ankle. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, repeating three times on each foot.