Shin splints are a particularly agonizing problem for athletes, especially runners. Anything that keeps you off your feet, of course, is bad news, but shin splints are often a punishment for overuse. Do too much running without adequate rest days, or abruptly changing your exercise routine, and you may wind up with shin splints’ characteristic pain, tenderness, and swelling. That said, shin splints are not usually “serious” in the medical sense—they very rarely need formal treatment, and usually respond well to rest, usually for 2-4 weeks.
While the main treatment method for this condition is simply to take a break from strenuous activity, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do aid the healing process or prevent recurrence. Yoga, for example, is great for shin splints. Various poses and positions can help you relieve stress and pressure, as well stretch and strengthen supporting muscles and tendons, steeling them against future problems.
Generally, the best yoga poses for shin splints involve stretching the legs. Monkey pose (hanumanasana), legs up the wall inverted pose (viparita karani), and shoulder stands (saravangasana) are all great choices that can help you restore strength and balance to sore calf and leg muscles.
Viparita karani may be the easiest of the three for a beginner. Start next to a wall from a seated position, with your knees drawn up to your chest. Slowly bring your lower back to the floor and your legs up, keeping your upper back supported by your elbows. Then, bring your full back to the floor.
You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the benefits of yoga. It may take some time to feel totally comfortable with each position, but the stretches themselves as well as the calm, relaxing nature of the practice can have profoundly positive effects on your body and mind.
If you’re worried about any foot or ankle pain, including shin splints, there’s one extra step you should take—visiting Harvey Danciger, DPM. Our trained staff will diagnose your problem and set you on the road to recovery with a full suite of both conservative and surgical treatment solutions. To set an appointment at our Palm Desert, CA office, give us a call at 760-568-0108.