What are Shin Splints?
Shin splints are an irritation or a pulling away of the protective sheath surrounding the muscles attached to the shin bone. They are caused either by training too hard, too soon, or by poor running mechanics – i.e., either over or under pronating when running.
Prevention at Practice:
- Run on the track and not on the road, which will minimize the pounding that irritates the muscles.
- Incorporate additional calf muscle stretching and strengthening exercises into your warm up routine.
- Incorporate toe raises to add some further muscle strengthening.
- Run/train in moderation in order to continue strengthening your lower leg muscles, which will help eliminate the condition.
Things to do prior to, during, and after practice:
- Take Motrin an hour prior to practice to minimize muscle inflammation. ONLY WITH A PARENTS PERMISSION!!!
- Apply Atomic Balm or Icy Hot balm to calves prior to each practice and each meet.
- Warming up the muscles will help them be loose and supple during stretching and training.
- Do four warm up laps prior to stretching (even if the rest of the team is doing two) and two warm down laps immediately after the conditioning part of practice.
- (At Home) Do the following exercise to strengthen the lower leg muscles – Sit in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Lift toes up towards the shin, keeping heels on the floor. Do 60 rapid repititions. Do three sets of 60 reps. This can be done each commercial during a tv program for three commercials. This should be done daily.
- (At Home) Lie on your stomach with legs stretched out behind you. Have a parent vigorously shake/vibrate your calf muscle for two minutes each leg. You don’t have to put a lot of pressure on it, just shake it back and forth vigorously. (Your hand will get pretty tired!) This helps keep the muscle fibers from knotting together. The same thing can/should be done with thighs and hamstrings if your are sore or tight after a workout or meet.