Don’t Forget Your Tibialis Anterior!

Have you ever suffered from shin splints?  Have you had pain radiating down the front of your leg or weakness in your ankles?  These are sure signs that you need to start focusing on the tibialis anterior muscle.  This muscle is located on the front of your leg. It attaches to the outside of your knee and the upper portion of the tibia bone on one end, and near the base of your big toe on the other end.  Stretching and strengthening of this muscle will help facilitate ankle flexion, dorsiflexion, and inversion.

Kneeling TA Stretch

This stretch is recommended by the American Council on Exercise.  Place your ankles in a position of flexion, which will stretch the muscles on both legs simultaneously.  Kneel on your knees with your legs several inches apart and your toes pointed backward, moving your buttocks toward your calves, until you feel a gentle stretch through the front of your lower legs and thighs. Then hold for 10 to 30 seconds.  If you need balance you can place your hands on the floor by your feet.

Towel Stretch

Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Wrap a towel or even a resistance band around the ball of your foot. Keeping your knees straight, pull the ends of the towels back towards you so your feet flex.

Stair calf stretch

Find a set of stairs and place the ball of your feet on the edge of one.  Make sure you aren’t going to slip off.  Once you’ve placed your feet on the edge, raise up to your toes and hold for a few seconds and then allow your heels to sink down as far as they can for a few seconds.  Keep repeating this 3-5 times.

Dumbbell Exercise

Sit on a flat bench with your legs extended in front of you. Making sure your knees don’t bend, allow your feet to hang off the edge so you are able to fight gravity. Place a lightweight dumbbell between your two feet on the inseam of your foot.  Making sure the dumbbell will stay in place, simply point and flex your toes.

The tibialis anterior muscle is not a very big muscle and therefore not a muscle you will need to lift heavy weights for.  Simple stretches and easy exercises are all you will need to do.  If you have pain it’s always best to consult your doctor before trying any exercise.