Updated: Oct 31, 2020
Shin splints and plantar fasciitis are all common injuries within the running population. These injuries can be caused by many factors, but a common theme is weakness within the tibialis anterior muscle.
The tibialis anterior (TA) is a muscle within the anterior compartment of our lower leg and is the primary muscle that moves our ankle into dorsiflexion. In other words, it pulls our ankle and foot up toward our shin. It also assists in moving our ankle into inversion, which means pulling our foot inward.
Ok, well how does this muscle help from preventing injuries? Let's start with shin splints: there are actually 2 types of shin splints. Anterior shin splints and posterior shin splints. Today, we are going to focus on anterior shin splints. When we run, the TA muscle has to control our foot every time we land. If we have weakness in this muscle or poor eccentric control then our TA will fatigue as we run and start to cause pain in the front part of our shin.
What about plantar fasciitis? Great question! The TA muscle supports the arch of our foot because the muscle tendon actually crosses the ankle and is connected to the underside of our foot. This brings us back to the fact that the TA controls our foot every time our foot strikes the ground. If we are lacking this strength and control the arch of our foot will "collapse". In other words it will not be supported and cause abnormal stress to our plantar fascia.
As you can see, it is so important for use to have a strong TA muscle in order to run healthy and pain free! Attached is a video of a great exercise that you can do right in your living room to prevent these injuries from happening to you!
Hope this post helps you and I wish you happy and healthy running!