The lower anterior leg (the shin) contains a group of long, tendinous muscles that are responsible for dorsiflexion and eversion of the foot, extension of the toes, and assist with ankle stabilization. Specifically, the Tibialis Anterior is the largest and most superficial of the shin muscles, and runs down the length of the shin in front of the tibia bone. Overuse, over extension and improper conditioning entering endurance activities such as downhill running or running on uneven surfaces can overload in the Tibialis Anterior, and thus the muscle is often associated with running pain.
Here are a few examples of stretches and self-massage techniques if your muscles feel sore and tight after activity.
Supporting yourself with your left hand, step into a forward lunge with your right leg. Gently gently flip your left foot into plantar flexion. Lower into a deeper lunge to increase the stretch.
Sit in a chair with your right foot firmly planted on the ground. Carefully slide your left foot backwards unto plantar flexion underneath the chair.
Supporting yourself with your left forearm, lay on your left side on a yoga mat. Keeping your right leg straight and planted on the floor for support, flex your left knee and catch your ankle with your right hand. Pull your knee into a deeper flex to increase the stretch.
Three Self-Massage Techniques:
Place the foam roller on the floor. Carefully place your lower leg on the roller. Internally rotate the leg to avoid rolling directly on the tibia bone. With your other leg on by your side for support, gently roll up and down to massage the muscles lengthwise. This can also be done using a roller stick or a tennis ball.
Cross Fiber Roll
Sit on the floor with you leg extended. Using a roller massage stick, start at the ridge of the tibia and work laterally towards the floor, being careful not to roll over the bone. This can also be done using a tennis ball.
Pin and Stretch
Sit on the floor with your leg extended. Place your roller stick on a trigger point. Hold firmly, and gently dorsiflex and plantar flex your foot. This can also be done using a tennis ball.
These techniques, along with regular sports massage sessions, can be used as preventative care against shin pain as you amp up your spring training!
This article/video is for educational purposes only; do not attempt without your physician’s clearance. If you are in pain or injured, see your physician.
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