What are shin splints?
Key findings from studying shin splints in adolescents
- Compared to healthy runners, injured runners had decreased foot and calf muscle and tendon size. Also, the angle of certain muscle fibers in the calves and feet decreased, which indicates reduced strength and quality of muscle.
- More muscles in the feet and calves of injured runners were compromised than previously thought. Knee tendon quality changes suggest that an injury lower in the leg or foot may cause abnormalities higher up. Assessing the whole person is important when developing a therapy plan.
- Musculoskeletal ultrasound is a good tool in formulating rehabilitation plans for these injuries. Standard practice for non-acute lower leg injuries like shin splints is to manually test strength and flexibility, but does not include images.
- Toe yoga exercises to strengthen foot core muscles could be very helpful in rehabilitation programs for adolescent runners.
Toe yoga or short foot exercises
- Start with feet flat on the floor.
- Focus on bringing the ball of the foot closer to the heel by contracting the muscles in the arch, causing it to rise.
- Don’t curl the toes under. Keep them on the floor and shorten the foot.
- Variations include raising the toes or just the big toe, standing on one foot, etc.
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