Yoga is a great source of exercise. It challenges a wide variety of muscles, works your heart and lungs, and encourages both balance and flexibility. You don’t have to be a master to feel the benefits, either. It’s also helpful to athletes who are trying to recover from injuries, like shin splints. Yoga exercises are a great way to cross train and challenge your painful lower limbs without dealing with repeated hard impacts.
Shin splints are a painful overuse injury often seen in athletes, especially runners. You develop a burning, aching sensation in the front of your lower legs, usually due to your lower limbs becoming overworked. This often happens when you start a new exercise routine or increase the intensity of your current activities, and your feet are not conditioned to handle the change. Flat feet and footwear can also play a role.
Yoga exercises help stretch and strengthen your lower limbs, which can help combat the effects and symptoms of shin splints. It can also help you maintain your fitness overall when you’re injured. The key — like with all new activities—is to approach it slowly and increase the intensity over time. Here are a few yoga principles and exercises you can try:
Square Your Feet – While standing, think about your feet having four corners that form a rectangle between your forefoot and your heel. Focus on your weight being evenly distributed across those corners. If you overpronate, try to “lift” your arches as you stand still.
Tucked Toes While Kneeling – When you kneel, tuck your toes under. Sit back on your heels and push your weight backwards to stretch the tops of your feet and your shins.
Monkey Pose – This is a bit more advanced. Start by kneeling on your hands and knees. Bring your right leg up, placing your foot between your hands. Extend your back leg behind you as straight as you can. Supporting your weight on your hands, slide your front foot forward as you try to straighten that knee.
Yoga exercises may help improve your painful shins, but if your discomfort is persistent, let the Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona help. You can reach our two offices for an appointment by calling, faxing, or using our website. To reach us in Chandler, call (480) 963-9000 and fax (480) 963-0375; to reach us in Gilbert, call (480) 981-1800 and fax (480) 981-0229.
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