How to Get Rid Of Shin Splints

Learn what causes shin splints and which exercises can help you get rid of them.

Ben Greenfield,
Episode #049
How to get rid of shin splints

How to Get Rid of Shin Splints

If you have shin splints, a number of exercises or activities can help:

  1. Decrease activity or make sure that you increase your activity gradually rather than all at once. For example, when running, you should never add more than about 10% volume each week.

  2. Run or exercise on softer surfaces. For example, if you run on concrete, which is one of the hardest surfaces you could possibly run on, switch to pavement, or better yet, the gravel or dirt on the side of the road, off-road running trails, or grass.

  3. Choose your footwear wisely. Rather than buying your shoes at a sporting goods store or online, go to a store that specializes in selling running shoes and have them watch you stand, walk and run, and then make shoe recommendations based on your unique body mechanics.

  4. Change worn-out shoes. Running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles, or every 3-6 months--whichever comes first. If you frequently run on hard surfaces, you’ll need to change your running shoes more frequently.

  5. Train your core. A strong core will allow you to place less stress on your lower limbs with each step. Check out “What Is Your Core,” “How to Get A Flat Stomach,” and “How to Make Your Abs Stronger.”

  6. Stretch your calves. Each day, preferably before you run, do a wall calf stretch, in which you place both hands on the wall and lean into it with one leg outstretched behind you, and a down dog, in which you get into a push-up position, then lift your butt towards the ceiling until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs. You can also do foam rolling exercises for your calf. Stretching the calves is good for both preventing and recovering from shin splints.

  7. Strengthen the front of your legs. One of the best ways to strengthen the front leg muscles is with toe lifts, in which you stand in place and lift the front of your foot off of the floor while keeping your heels on the floor. Try to hold this position for 10 seconds and then slowly lower the front of your foot back to the floor. Try to get 30 of these done, 3 times a day. Once you get to the point where that is easy, you can begin heel walks, in which you walk on your heels with your toes pointed straight ahead, for 3-5 minutes per day.

Ultimately, if you have shin splints that result from medial tibial stress syndrome, you should refrain from any running or lower leg impact for 5-7 days, then start doing the activities above. But if you have a stress fracture or compartment syndrome, you’ll want to meet with a physician to get medical advice for these more serious conditions.

A Shin Splints Workout

Now that you understand shin splints exercises, here is a shin splints workout:

  • Do a 5-10 light warm-up, preferably non-weight bearing, on a bicycle or elliptical trainer. If you’re stuck at home without these items, the warm-up is optional.

  • Do a wall calf stretch for each leg for 30 seconds, and then do 30 seconds of down-dog.

  • Do 25 yards of heel walks, or 30 reps of toe lifts.

  • Repeat the stretches and the heel walks or toe lifts three times through.

  • Finish with 20-30 foam rolls for each calf.

If you have more questions about shin splints, just head over to http://www.facebook.com/getfitguy and ask!

Woman Doing Abdominal Exercises image from Shutterstock


The Quick and Dirty Tips Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.