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How to Stretch Shin Splints

by Rachel Nall

About Rachel Nall

Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.


Shin splints are a painful occurrence that can stop you in your tracks. If you are an avid runner or regularly perform weight-bearing activities, the frequent impact on your lower legs can cause pain as the muscles and tendons in your lower legs become overloaded. The overload may be due to running on hard surfaces, wearing ill-fitting shoes, placing too much strain on your body or having flat feet, which causes your feet to roll inward. To relieve the pain and tension of shin splints, stretch your calves and shins to release the overload.

Achilles Stretch

Step 1

Stand in front of a step or an elevated surface and place the ball of your right foot on the edge of the step. An Achilles stretch lengthens the tendons and muscles on the back of your leg.

Step 2

Lower the heel below the level of the step about two to four inches, until you feel a stretch in the back of your right calf.

Step 3

Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, then release the stretch.

Step 4

Return your foot to the starting position, then repeat the exercise on the left foot.

Gastrocnemius Stretch

Step 1

Extend your arms to rest your hands against a wall directly in front of you.

Step 2

Bend both legs. Step back with your right leg and straighten it as you place your right heel on the ground.

Step 3

Feel the stretch in your right calf muscle as you hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

Step 4

Release the stretch, then repeat on your left side.

Step 5

Repeat three times on each side.

Seated Shin Stretch

Step 1

Knee on an exercise mat, keeping your torso tall. Lower your buttocks to your heels. This exercise directly targets the muscles that connect to the shinbone. Do not perform this stretch if you experience knee pain, as it can place strain on the knees.

Step 2

Lean back slightly, placing your fingertips on the ground.

Step 3

Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then release the stretch.

Step 4

Repeat three times.

Crossover Shin Stretch

Step 1

Stand near a wall for support. Cross your left foot over your right foot, turning your left leg so that the toes of your left foot point toward the outside edge of your right foot. Keep the ball and toes of your left foot on the ground. Feel the stretch from your knee to the front of your foot, adjusting as needed.

Step 2

Bend your right leg to deepen the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then release and repeat to stretch your right leg.

Step 3

Stretch each side three times.

Photo Credits:

  • Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.