You’re feeling motivated to exercise. You start to get into a regular running routine. You feel good. Your clothes are feeling looser, your muscles are feeling stronger, and then …
You start to get pain in your shins next time you hit the road for your run.
This pain is known as shin splints, a cumulative stress disorder caused by repeated pounding and stress on the bones, muscles, and joints of the lower legs, preventing your body from being able to naturally repair and restore itself (Healthline).
If you don’t have shin splints now, you should still read on! You may be at risk for shin splints if …
- You have flatter feet
- You have weak thigh and/or buttocks muscles
- You lack flexibility
- You regularly run downhill
- You often run on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt
- You wear inappropriate or worn-out shoes for running or other physical activity
- You do a lot of sprinting with fast and hard starts/stops.
So what do you do? Do you give up your exercise goals, forget about that 5K, and swear off running forever?
Well, no, not exactly.
This post will share some yoga poses to help relieve your shin splints.
But first, some standard advice. If you already have shin splints, here are some things you can do to help:
- Take it easy (take a break from running!)
- Wear elastic compression bandages
- Massage your shins with a foam roller
- Use ice packs on your shins
- Elevate your legs.
To prevent shin splints from developing, make sure you:
- Wear supportive, well-fitting shoes
- Try to avoid running on downhill, hard, and/or slanted surfaces. Grass is your friend!
- Use shock-absorbing insoles in your shoes
- Stretch before and after running
- Strengthen your calf muscles
- Increase flexibility
- Increase exercise intensity gradually.
Yoga Poses For Shin Splints
Yoga poses for shin splints are intended to stretch your calf muscles (gastrocnemius) and strengthen the front of your shin (tibialis anterior). These yoga poses are also helpful in preventing shin splints!
- Mountain pose variation. In mountain pose with your shoulders rolling back, gaze forward, lift your toes, and balance on your heels. Try doing this for at least 10 breaths, taking a break, and repeating 2 more times. This will help strengthen the front of your shins.
- Half-split. Half-split offers a great stretch for your hamstrings and calves. Just make sure that you keep your foot flexed to get the full benefits for your hamstrings and calves. Halfway through the pose, you can switch to a pointed toe, to move the stretch into lengthening for your shin.
From a low lunge with your back knee lowered and the front foot flat on the ground, shift your hips back and straighten your front leg. Make sure you keep your hips over your back knee as you do this! Then try to keep your spine straight and fold over your torso, resting your fingertips on the ground. Please use two blocks if you can’t bring your fingers to the ground. Try to keep the back of your neck long and your pelvis square to the front of your mat.
For 5 breaths, flex your front foot. The more you dorsiflex your front foot (meaning: the closer you pull your toes to your shin), the more intense the sensation. Then point your foot for another 5 breaths. Continue to switch every 5 breaths. Repeat this 3 to 5 times.
- Downward facing dog. This pose will help your shins and calves. From a tabletop position, tuck your toes, press into your palms, and lift your hips. Spread the fingers wide, pressing into each one. Lengthen through the backs of your legs and through the spine, and allow the head to dangle.
Stay here for 5 breaths. Then, begin to slowly pedal the feet, matching movement to breath.
- Goddess pose variation. Stand with the legs wide, about 2 feet apart. With your exhale, bend the knees so that the knees stack over the ankles. Bring your palms to either your thighs or lift your arms overhead into for a little more of a challenge.
Then, lift onto your toes. Stay here for 10 breaths. This pose will help you strengthen your calf muscles!
- Hero pose variation. In hero pose, you’ll sit on your heels with your shins and tops of your feet lengthening along your mat. From here, release your hands behind you and press into your palms, lifting your knees and rolling your back down until you feel a stretching and opening in the ankles, tops of feet, and shins.
Want more? Practice this easy sequence with me here!
Yoga can help relieve and prevent shin splints. Try these yoga poses out, and comment your experience below!
If you are in pain, the best therapy for your shins is to decompress. Gentle stretches and breathing techniques may help you relax and decompress the shins.
Do you have shin pain? Wouldn’t you want to relieve the pain in your shins and do the things you did before?
I do personalized healthy yoga. Let me help you with a healthy yoga sequence customized to you! Click here for your online quiz. What do you have to lose except your pain?
Info about Me
I’m Chi. I’ve always been passionate about healing and empowerment.
I work as a catalyst for personal transformation. I help you explore the best version of yourself, and yoga is a fantastic tool to accomplish that goal. I am a certified yoga therapist and a classically trained jazz vocalist, and I hold a Ph.D. in Communications. I look forward to practicing with you!
Johnson, Shannon. Shin Splints. https://www.healthline.com/health/shin-splints. [Accessed September 2018]