Shin pain equals hip strengthening

Brian Azinger, MA, LAT, Agnesian HealthCare Sports & Spine Center
Shin Pain

As weather gets warmer and our thoughts move to outdoor activities, you may start to experience pain in your lower legs or shins. This pain could be due to the old shoes you are using, but planning to replace, or it could be due to muscle weakness. One possible cause of shin pain or shin splints is weakness in the posterior hip. Hip strengthening as an easy way to remedy this issue. 

Three quick and easy exercises that I have used with my athletes to help reduce shin plain are hip extensions, glute bridges and clam shells. All three strengthen the posterior hip, and can assist in the mechanical alignment of the knee and lower extremity, reducing shin pain.

Over time, the use of these exercises should result in less shin pain with activity.

Hip Extension

Hip Extension
  • Start on all fours (hands and knees)
  • Tighten your abs
  • Extend the hip, with the knee bent, raising your foot towards the ceiling or sky
  • Perform sets of 10 to 20 reps

Glute Bridges

  • Start on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor
  • Tighten your abs
  • Raise or lift your hips off the ground, into a bridge position
    • You can either hold this for up to 30 seconds or do sets of 10 to 20 reps
    • To make harder, extend one knee and perform lift with opposite leg

Clam Shells

  • Start in a side lying position
  • Externally rotate hip to raise knee
    • You do not want to rotate hip
    • To prevent hips from rotating you can place your back against a wall
  • Perform sets of 10 to 20 reps



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