Shin splints treatment involves opening the calf muscles: the gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles. We have been taught the wrong method to stretch our calf muscles. Shin splints result from archaic stretching methods that are used prior to athletic activity. The body is not properly warmed up and as calf muscles become more rigid, shin splint pain can easily develop. The athlete with shin splints needs to know that Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is superior and distinct to any other form of stretching. The developer of Active Isolated Stretching, Aaron Mattes’ states that the calf muscle (and many other muscles) must be stretched from six different points. Conventional stretching only emphasizes one point, the belly of the muscle. When an athlete uses learns to stretch six aspects of their calf muscle rather than just one aspect, that person is on the way towards recovering and preventing shin splints. The way to cure shin splints is outlined in Active Isolated Stretching and Strengthening excercise.
People with shin splints have tight calves. When the calves are tight, the shins will hurt.
Athletes with shin pain will try doing a few stretches to the calves, when the pain still remains, then they will assume that the source of the problem must be something else besides muscular tension. Such a person may even try alternative methods and not get any results. The truth is that other alternative methods that have been tried are not as effective as Active Isolated Stretching. Massage, acupuncture, electric stimulation, rolfing, pnf stretching, the rolling pin, the stick… all these methods will not open the calf muscle as completely as Active Isolated Stretching.
The calf muscle must be stretched from six aspects to keep it open.
Conventional stretching only emphasizes stretching one aspect of the calf muscle. The calf muscle has two attachment sites. One attachment is closer to the backside of the knee. The other attachment site is close to the achilles heel. On each attachment site there are three aspects: the middle (medial aspect) and the two sides (lateral aspects). Considering both attachments equals six aspects on a target muscle. Active Isolated Stretching techniques pioneered this more detailed way of lengthening muscles.
People that are trying to stretch the calf with conventional methods are using the wrong position to stretch.
The runner’s calf stretch: standing and leaning forward to stretch the calf is widely used. So is the method where you stand over a step and drop the heel below the step while the toes and upper foot stay on the step. Both of these methods are using the wrong position to stretch the gastrocnemius. When you stand, you are contracting the calf muscle. A muscle that contracts cannot lengthen optimally. Therefore to lengthen the calf you must change the position of the stretch where the muscle is relaxed. That correct position is laying on one’s back, using a rope to stretch the calf.
In conventional calf stretching (or pnf stretching) the duration of the hold is too long.
If you stretch a muscle for ten or thirty seconds, then a stretch reflex kicks in which protects the muscle from being overstretched. If you hold a stretch for thirty seconds, the stretch reflex becomes a barrier to lengthening the target muscle. Therefore, the duration of the stretch should be two seconds, and then done in repetitions. AIS therapy pioneered the concept of two second stretching.
Shin splints can be cured. Athletes can return to their sport without experiencing pain.
AIS therapy has made a great contribution to the field of sports therapy by redefining the protocol of stretching and strengthening to help athletes perform their best. First, receive the assisted stretching treatment from an AIS therapist, then learn the AIS self-stretching techniques, and follow-up with AIS strengthening methods for the lower body that will enable you to maintain correct position and posture.