Shin splints can be very painful, and they can literally stop you in your tracks. It is important to get imaging done if you have persistent pain because often stress fractures present like shin splints.

You can have anterior or posterior shin splints. Anterior shin splints are a little higher up and on the outside of the leg. Here are some stretches and exercises for Anterior Shin Splints.

Posterior shin splints are lower to the ankle and on the inside of the leg. If you are having pain, you might want to stretch both.

The first stretch is similar to a soleus stretch. So you will start off leaning against something sturdy. Put the leg you want to stretch back into a lunge position. Keeping both feet facing forward, bend your front knee, and then keeping your back heel down bend your back knee. The final step to this stretch is to bend the knee inward toward your other knee to get the posterior tibialis stretch. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times.

The second one is an exercise as well as a stretch. You are going to place your foot behind you, and turn it outward so the big toe is on the ground. With light pressure downward, drag your foot forward. You can add pressure as you get more comfortable with it. If you want to work your anterior tibialis, you can drag the toes forward with your foot turned inward and the smaller toes on the ground.

Now you are going to get on the ground. Sitting in a tall kneel with your knees on the ground, turn your feet outward so your big toe is on the ground. This might be very uncomfortable the first few times you do it, so you don’t have to lean all the way back. Slowly bring your bottom to your feet to stretch the area. You can just do one foot, or you can do two for more pressure. If you want to stretch the anterior portion, you can turn your feet inward and sit back on your feet.

Finally, you will do a general calf stretch. With the leg you want to stretch straight out in front of you, and the other one curled in, take a strap, dog leash, or towel and wrap it around the balls of your foot. Pull your foot towards you with the strap until you feel a stretch, and hold it for 30 seconds. Do this three times. You can also turn your foot out slightly to get a better posterior stretch.