Practice Health: Don’t let neglected leg muscles cramp your run
Feb 15, 2014 | 4365 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This week’s article is dedicated to the joggers, runners, walkers and hikers. First, I’d like to say my hat’s off to you. I’m proud of you. I’m there with you, in spirit. (Sometimes I’m there in reality if you walk at the same time as my lunch break.)

Today, I have an exercise tip just for you leg-movers. There is a tricky little problem that sets in during various stages of exercise, whether you are in a steady routine or vigorous training. Lower anterior leg pain can really cramp your style. I don’t mean shin splints, necessarily, although this exercise does help with those. First, to show you which muscles I mean, flex your toes to the ceiling. See the slight bulge that occurs next to the shin? That’s the target of today’s words of wisdom.

We spend lots of time stretching and working the back leg muscles (the calves) but the anterior compartment is often neglected. If you are like me, it comes back to haunt you from time to time. No worries, though, all you have to do is draw circles and letters in the air with your toes. As long as you flex the tip of your toes back toward your body as much as you can with each letter, air-sketching the alphabet with each foot a few times a day will really help with the aching and cramping that can set in those muscles.

If you don’t like the alphabet so much, just draw circles. Remember to rotate both ways until your shin area starts to burn. Stretching these muscles is tough — your ankle doesn’t bend back far enough to really get a stretch. If you can’t get a good stretch, you might try dragging a knuckle down the length of the lower leg, along the outer edge of the shin bone. If it’s really sore, switch the knuckle out for a couple of ice cubes. Ice massage helps with fatigued muscles.

I also recommend getting a chiropractic adjustment, because making sure the pelvis is aligned will reduce leg pain caused during exercise. Many times, an imbalanced gait due to a misaligned spine is the culprit of muscle pain during and after exercise.
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