Shin splints have a number of musculoskeletal structures involved, and I encourage you to read the article I have written on fixing shin splints, but what I would like to show you here is how to stretch one muscle often involved in shin splints: tibialis anterior.
The tibialis anterior runs on the front part of the shin, or the anterior compartment, and it dorsiflexes the foot, which is bringing the foot closer toward the chest. It is involved in stabilizing the ankle during the gait cycle, particularly on heel strike, when the foot hits the ground. It then contracts to firm up the foot in the full weight bearing stage when the other leg swings past. In sports that rely on kicking objects like soccer or martial arts, the tibialis anterior locks the foot and ankle in place for a toe kick.
When the tibialis anterior gets tight it can cause pain in front of the shin or ankle area. Shin splints is an extreme version of pain that can be felt to a lesser degree by just about anybody that is active, or even in those that have recently walked a longer distance than they’re used to. In the video below, I demonstrate a simple, yet effective, way to stretch the dorsiflexors of the foot, including the tibialis anterior. Depending on your level of tightness, you may need the help of a yoga block or rolled-up towel, but watch the video for the instruction. Enjoy.