Are you doing all you can to shield your shins from soreness? The summer is prime time for pounding pavement. And whether you are a new runner or seasoned sprinter, it’s important to properly prep and prime your body to avoid common run-related injuries such as shin splints.

If you’ve experienced the nagging discomfort associated with shin pain, you know how quickly it can sideline your aerobic aspirations. Often, this aching and throbbing is caused by poorly fitted footwear, multiplying your mileage too quickly, or classic wear and tear. And if the sensation of shin splints wasn’t bad enough, the recuperation time to mend this sensitive area is long and unpredictable. This frustrating injury can really interfere with your running goals and even more problematic, your ability to walk with ease.

For shins to stay strong and supported, the surrounding muscles such as the calves, knees, hips, feet, and ankles require a well-rounded conditioning routine. Here’s how to help power up these areas:

Single leg glute bridge

  • Begin on your back with your knees bent and feet firmly planted on the floor. Extend your arms to your sides for support.
  • Elevate your right leg. Push through your left heel to lift your hips until they form a straight line from shoulders to knees. Hold for two counts then release. When lowering, hover your glutes an inch off the floor to increase the workload on your legs. Repeat 10 times then switch sides.
Ashley demonstrates a single leg glute bridge in this 2018 file photo.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley demonstrates a single leg glute bridge in this 2018 file photo.

Calf stretch

  • Stand with the ball of your foot propped against a curb or first step of a staircase. If stability is a concern, hold on to an object to help balance.
  • Keep your leg straight as you gently push your body weight into the step. You should feel a deep stretch in your calf. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds then repeat on the opposite leg.

Heel walk

  • Stand near a wall for support as you shift your weight to your heels and point your toes up toward the sky.
  • When ready, keep your toes up as you slowly walk 10 paces on your heels. Repeat twice.
Ashley demonstrates the heel walk in this 2019 file photo.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley demonstrates the heel walk in this 2019 file photo.

Tibia toner

  • From a standing position, bend at your right ankle to curl your toes under your foot.
  • Place light pressure on the top of your foot to stretch the muscles lining the front of your foot, ankle, and shin. Hold for 10 seconds then perform on the other foot.

For best results, practice before embarking on a fast-paced walk or run.

Other helpful tips: Rest is always the best medicine when injured. If you’re experiencing aching shins, take the time necessary to heal. And to prevent the onset of shin splints, gradually increase time and mileage when jogging, wear well-fitted sneakers with a fresh tread, and cross-train to avoid overusing the muscles responsible for running.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.