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How I Fixed my Shin Splints

This is not medical advice. If you’ve recently had an accident, go see a doctor.


After High School basketball practices and games I had to ice my shin splints because it felt like my muscle was ripping off the bone.


I went to a podiatrist who gave me shoe inserts and calf stretches, but the pain remained. Most podiatrists don’t know the simple fix for shin splints: train your shins.


One day I discovered that if I put my toes under the basketball stands and lean back without falling, this action makes my shins feel a little bit better.

I didn’t know that I was training the tibialis anterior muscle, but after one week I felt better than after 3 months of following the podiatrist’s recommendation!


I now know that the cure for shin splints is to choose a wider toe box shoe like the vivobarefoot shoes and train your shins with tibialis raises.


Instead of trying to “fix” the foot with orthotics or surgery, first let’s try to get your body to work better on its own.

 

Is there a better way?

In 2020 I started distance running, but I had continuous foot and ankle problems until I found and read this fantastic book “Anatomy for Runners”.

From this book I learned how modern shoes with extra support, elevated heels, and narrow toe boxes are making our feet and lower limbs weaker and more prone to injury.


Your Nikes look cool, but they’re too tight and narrow around the toes, which will reduce proprioception, balance, and control, and ultimately make you weaker.


Get a pair of barefoot or wide toe box shoes or spend as much of your time as possible barefoot (Barefoot Shoe Review Video).

 

Mobility & Strength


Foot Mobility

Put a lacrosse ball under your feet. You should be able to sustain your entire body weight on a single foot, and you should continue to stand on the lacrosse ball until the fascia and muscles of your feet begin to loosen up.


Ankle mobility

One of my favorite tools for improving ankle mobility is the slant board because you can do it while standing at your desk!

Perform the slant board calf stretch to improve ankle dorsiflexion, and sit on your ankles to improve ankle plantar flexion and hip flexor mobility.


Hip Mobility

Perform the couch stretch until you are able to touch your knee, foot, and hip to the wall, and practice this simple daily hip mobility flow.


Strength

As much as possible when standing or lifting weights, you want to maintain a tripod foot.

Some great exercises for lower limb strength and stability include:

All Podiatrists are Not Created Equal

If you’re looking for a podiatrist, Dr. Emily Splichal is the best one I’ve found online who emphasizes the importance of short foot exercise and strength training.


Your specific solution for foot/ankle pain is going to be unique. If you’d like to work with me to overcome your chronic foot/ankle pain, schedule a consultation here!



Hope this helps! - Tom




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