Excess tension in the muscles of the lower leg will contribute to the irritation of the periosteum around the tibia which can be a cause of shin splint pain. If the muscles in the lower leg and ankle are too stiff or too weak, and shock absorption mechanics are not working properly, the tibia will have to absorb much of the impact therefore increasing the risk of microfractures. The fresh blood flow promotes healing of the injured tissues as well as improves extensibility in the muscles. Strengthening the muscles of the foot and lower leg contributes to proper shock absorption and reduction of pain from shin splints.
When rehabbing for shin splints, the main focus is to keep the muscles of the lower leg strong but mobile in order to properly absorb shock. During week 1, we will introduce stretching and strengthening exercises for muscles that work at the ankle joint.
The stretch this week allows you to target the muscles in the shin at all angles. The two strength exercises target the muscles on the front and outside of the lower leg to ensure stability at the ankle joint.
Week 3 will focus on stretching and strengthening the muscles of the calf, an important muscle group for effective shock absorption.
For the final week of shin splint recovery, we will progress to 3 fully weight-bearing exercises to strengthen the muscles of the lower leg.