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Got Shin Splints?

This is a very common issue.

Here’s how they’re most likely created…

I say most likely because shin splints is a diagnosis that seems to cover every pain experienced in the front of the lower leg. Since it’s such a general term, you need to understand that not all shin splints will fall under the same umbrella of this blog… All good so far?

Terrific. Let’s move on…

First, sit down somewhere high enough up so your feet can’t touch the floor. Now, point your foot and toes down [plantarflexion], then curl your foot and toes up [dorsiflexion].

When curling up, this ankle position is created by the muscles down the front of your shin. They are opposed by the muscles on the back of your lower leg.

If you have stacks of tension in the muscles on the back of your lower leg [calves], you will have to use the muscles on the front of your lower leg a lot more in order to raise the foot and toes upwards.

Let’s say you are performing a movement that requires you to pull your toes up… Box jumps, for example… With tight calves, you are now having to pull your toes up with MORE effort than normal in order to land on the box without tripping… Enough effort to counteract the tension in the calves, which are currently being used and tightened up further by the box jumps…

This effort of fighting the larger muscles on the back of your lower leg is what is [likely] creating your shin splints… It’s a fairly simple problem.

- Lots of calf tension creates lots of opposing tension in the front of the lower leg.

- Increased tension in the muscle tears the connective tissue at the bone.

- You now have pain in the front of your lower leg…

As with all fairly simple problems, there is a fairly simple solution…

- Avoid anything that causes you problems for a few weeks.

- Try a calf smash [a mobility drill] then jump on the Bob for a few minutes.

- Repeat daily, and constantly vary the mobility stimulus…

Once you've taken the sting out of it, you need to ask yourself why you got shin splints in the first place... Why is your calf so tight? 

Hwelll... The hamstrings primary role is to act as a decelerator and breaker, and provide stability from the glutes through the knee and calf, Achilles, ankle and foot. Failure to train the hamstrings properly - not respecting its true function - means everything below the knee has to work way too much… So foot and ankle issues, basically... 

You need the hamstrings long, strong and capable of stability; this means you need: 

- A mobility program [Smash & Stretch], followed by...

- Romanian deadlifts (RDLs), single leg RDLs, Good mornings, Glute-Hams, Jefferson Curls, etc. 

- All done with controlled eccentrics and isometric holds...  

With longer, stronger hamstrings, we can then look at improving ankle range of motion and stability - once that’s in place, box jumps, skipping and running will pose little, if any threat.

If you need help, come find me.

“Sit the f*** down and have a beer…”

~ Coach Collins

Copyright 2017

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