Q&A: Why Can’t I Feel the Anterior Shin Stretch?
Contributing Authors: Tricia Moore, Fritz Nugent & Michele Vieux
Q: I did all the elements that Coach Fritz demonstrated in his foot prehab video. LOVED IT! But…the stretch that he shows where you sit on your feet to stretch your shins didn’t stretch my shins at all. Not even leaning way back. But it did stretch my quads. Is that normal? Now when I did the alphabet, that kicked some shin a$$!
Coach Michele’s Answer:
I can’t even WATCH that stretch without it hurting my knees! For you, I’m guessing either one or both of these things is the case. 1) I’ll bet that you have pretty solid plantar flexion and maybe that is why you aren’t feeling the anterior shin stretch. People who can’t point their toes so there is a straight line from them to their knees will feel more of a stretch there. Or, 2) Your quads are tight so you’re needing/feeling the stretch more there. This is totally normal for your body to do and is ok. If you feel like you need more anterior shin stretch, read Coach Tricia’s and Coach Fritz’s comments below.
Coach Tricia’s Answer (one of our running coaches):
Are you able to walk on your heels? Try heel walking in a neutral position for about 20-30 seconds and then pigeon toe walking for about 20-30 seconds, then evert the feet for the same amount of time. THEN stretch and see if you can feel it in your tibias.
Coach Fritz’s Answer (one of our running coaches):
Yes, I agree with both Michele and Tricia. Very short quads/hip flexors could be limiting your tension in shins when sitting on them. I’m glad that you were able to fatigue your shins on the alphabets – this suggests that either your shins are weak, or that you have great activation ability of that tissue, the former being more common, of course. To increase the shin stretch, when kneeling and sitting on your calves, you can try elevating your feet on a 2-3 inch soft surface and sit between your shins. This will increase the angle and hopefully the shin tension, too. If you do this with hip flexion, then this should limit your quads/hip flexors from interfering with your shin stretch.
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