While shin splints requires an understanding of how to stretch the calf muscles in the model of Active Isolated Stretching. The source of shin splint pain may also be coming from weak muscles at the bottom of the feet. Flexibility and strength in the small muscles of the feet are instrumental in curing or preventing shin splints. We need strong and flexible feet to perform running activities. After all, these muscles hold up the weight of our bodies. Natural arch support is necessary to prevent or heal from shin splints.
Here is a list of the muscles of the foot:
Intrinsic dorsal muscles of the forefoot, intrinsic plantar muscles of the forefoot, flexor digitorum longus, flexor digitorum brevis; anterior metatarsal arch – including extensor digitorum longus, extensor digitorum brevis, extensor hallucis longus, extensor hallucis brevis; adductor hallucis, plantar interossei, connective tissue between the toes, flexor hallucis brevis, flexor hallucis longis, and adductor hallucis.
All these muscles need to be lengthened to properly treat shin splints.
Shin splints commonly occur through running activities. The jarring motion of running will frequently cause the tibia or fibula bone to move out of alignment. This misalignment causes a tearing force to be placed upon the muscles and bones of the lower leg, causing pain in the shins. This tearing force is more likely to occur if the above mentioned foot muscles are inflexible, contorted, or weak. The toes should be strong and spread apart. Toe strength assists in propelling our bodies forward for running. If the heel is contracted, the muscles attached to it cannot absorb the pressure of running, making shin splint pain more likely to be experienced.
One of the problems that may lead to shin splints is when athletes wear flip flop sandals (known as “slippers” in Hawaii). Wearing flip flops decreases the natural strength of muscles in the feet and causes a flattening of the arches of the feet. This occurs because we do not properly use our feet muscles when walking while wearing flip flops. Prolonged wearing of flip flops will predispose an athlete to be more likely to experience shin splints.
Frequently, people are encouraged to use orthotic insoles for their feet. AIS practitioners strongly advise against wearing orthotic insoles. This can cause shin splints as it artificially raises the arches of the feet and eliminates the need for runners to use their foot muscles. This process creates a flattening of the arches and thereby exacerbates shin splint problems.
In AIS therapy, after the client has had their legs and feet stretched, that person learns how to perform specific strength training exercises for the foot, toe, and ankle muscles. The developer of AIS therapy invented a foot and ankle exerciser which is an essential part of rehabilitating from shin splints.
Active Isolated Stretching and Strengthening therapy can resolve shin splint pain and allow athletes to return to their sport of choice. When a client sees an AIS practitioner about shin splints it involves detailed stretching of the legs and feet. The heel is the anchor of the small muscles of the feet. The toes are important leverage points for running. If we do not activate and use these small muscles of the feet, problems will more likely occur in the body. Shin splints is just one example. Strong and flexible feet muscles will stabilize the tibia and fibula bones from moving out of position, a necessary step in curing shin splint pain.