Anterior shin splints is having pain in the front of the leg right below the knee, the tibialas anterior. Posterior shin splints is pain along the inside edge of the lower leg in the tibialis posterior tendon. The tibia or shin bone work with muscles and tendons. The muscles on the front of the leg, the anterior tibialis serve to point the toes and foot up which is called dorsi flexion, the tibialis posterior helps to point the toes and foot down which is plantar flexion.
Causes of posterior shin splints:
- Tight calf muscles
- Muscle imbalance
- Collapsed arches or flat feet
- excessive pronation
- improper or worn out shoes
- running surfaces
- improper running form
- excessive stress placed on one leg or one hip
Posterior shin splints are an inflammation of the tendons that attach to the inner surface of your shin bone extending down to the arches in your feet. Posterior shin splint pain is specific to the medial ankle, just behind the medial malleolus and along the lower and inner shin. Remember, that this is different from anterior shin splints. Pain will be felt to the touch and generally will not exhibit swelling.
- pain near the ankle
- pain when you flex your foot
- slight inflammation
- Depending on the severity of the pain, reduce or stop running to allow your shin to recover. If there is a stress fracture then you should talk to your doctor. You are able to do non impact exercises like swimming and cycling.
- Rest, ice, elevate and compress. When you come back from running ice and elevate your leg for about 20-25 minutes.
- Check your running shoes and running surfaces. Wrong shoes will cause shin splints, so make sure you get proper shoes for support and running.
- Stabilize your shin – Before you run, wrap up your shin or apply KT tape to keep them secure and stabilized. You can also try compression socks or sleeves, which promotes good blood flow.
- Stretch. Doing some stretches throughout the day will help strengthen your shins and help reduce the pain.
Dorsiflexion (flexing the foot) and Plantar Flexion (pointing the toes) Stretch Do 10 reps holding each position for 3 seconds. Can also use a resistance band (not shown in picture)
Heel Walk Alternate walking on your heels, walk normal for 30 seconds, then walk on your heels for 30 seconds. Do this for at least 4 times
Flexed Feet Wall stretch – Having your calves constantly in the flexed position will not only cause tightness in the back of your lower legs, but it will also shift your posture leading to lower back pain.
- Stand about 2 feet in front of a wall. Place your hands on the wall in front of your shoulders.
- Walk them down the wall as you lean back, lifting up your toes and shifting your weight into the heels. (note: in the picture my toes aren’t lifted weight was in the heels though and I could feel the stretch, but to intensify lift the toes up)
- Walk your hands as far down as you need to feel a nice stretch in the calves and lower back.
- Hold for 10-15 seconds
Downward Dog Calf Stretch – offers an intense calf stretch. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on other leg
Foam rolling stretch – Place the foam roller under your calf muscle and lift yourself up so you are holding your weight up with your hands. Now roll back and forth over the calf muscle to find the tight spots. Once you find a tight spot try and roll it out.