How Yoga can Help with Shin Splints

Shin splints are pain in the shin bones. This pain is brought on by exercise, particularly that involves repetitive weight or impact on the legs such as running.

What causes Shin Splints?
Sufferers are usually runners or people who have a sudden change in activity level that causes more weight being placed on the legs. It is more likely if you are running on hard or uneven surfaces, wearing shoes that do not cushion the impact enough, being overweight, having flat feet or if you have tight calf muscles, weak ankles, tight achilles, tight hamstrings or weak hip muscles.

Treatment:

  • Painkillers (e.g. paracetamol, ibuprofen)
  • Use an ice pack against the painful areas
  • Rest – the pain in the shins can be strong and sharp whilst doing the exercise but once you stop the pain will reduce. Refraining from the exercise for a few weeks will allow your body to return to normal, then gradually start the activity allowing your body to become more gradually adjusted
  • Ensure you warm up properly before exercising
  • Low impact activities – If you continue to suffer, consider switching to low impact activities (e.g. cross-trainer, swimming, yoga)
  • Try to lose weight if you are overweight
  • Increase strength and flexibility of key areas of the body – yoga poses can be used to target improvements in these areas
  • If things do not improve it is advisable to see your GP

Recommended yoga poses:
Yoga poses that help with shin splints work to do the following:

  • Strengthen Hip Abductor muscles – by making the muscles stronger there is more support for the legs and allows the impact to be through the centre of the leg
  • Strengthen Calf muscles – these muscles support the shins
  • Loosen Hamstrings – tight hamstrings puts more stress and pressure on the joints

Examples of beneficial yoga poses:

Note of Caution:
If you have a medical condition and are thinking of taking up yoga practice, it is advisable that you consult with you doctor.
If you are on medication, check with your doctor before taking other medications such as painkillers and always read the labels to ensure you do not exceed the recommended dose.

Further reading:
Check out the blog post on Benefits of yoga for runners

Written by Sarah Williams. Sarah is a Qualified Yoga Teacher based in London with an online presence on Instagram and Facebook. She also blogs about yoga and health & wellbeing topics on her website. Sarah’s focus is Vinyasa Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga styles of yoga and she completed part of her training in India. https://sarahlucyyoga.wixsite.com/yoga, @sarahlucyyoga

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