Muscle of the Month: Tibialis Anterior

Somehow, after an abysmal start to the season, Mr. Winter has returned to serve up a fresh blanket of snow on our home mountain. We couldn’t be more excited (although we’ll admit that it does make us check out flights to Mexico from time to time). For us gorge dwellers this means we’ve got a new lease on ski and snowshoe season.

While we’re reveling in the flakes, though, we know it’s not all hot chocolate and frosty lashes. For many, more time spent in ski boots or laced up to snowshoes means an angry tibialis anterior and potentially some cascading problems. If you’re discovering pain on the lateral surface of your lower leg after winter sports, make an appointment with us, and we’ll help you figure out exactly what’s going on!

Facts About the Tibialis Anterior

Originating just below the knee and running down the lateral side of your leg, the tibialis anterior connects to the first metatarsal bones of your foot. Its main function is to work with the calf to create maximum stability in your lower leg, decreasing the rate of ankle sprains and knee issues. The tibialis anterior is also the main muscle in charge of dorsiflexion (pointing your toes to nose). 

As we pull on heavy footwear like ski boots and snowshoes, this is a common muscle that can get compressed, and consequently very angry. Especially for newer skiers, a tentativeness to lean forward into boots can put an inordinate strain on the tibialis anterior. The most common terminology used to describe this pain is “shin bang”—a sure sign that shin splints are starting to take hold. 

If this starts to happen to you, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Chiropractic care, intentional stretching, and massage can get you back on the right track. 

Tips for a Happier Tibialis Anterior

Thankfully, there are a few simple stretches you can do at home to help ease the anger of an overused tibialis anterior. To start—things that we can help you with at Hood River Chiropractic—rehab, implementing an ankle stability protocol, and myofascial release with cupping, the Graston technique, and pin and stretch are all good places to start. 

If you’re looking for a home remedy, though, sit on a comfortable surface, grab your knee with both hands, hold your leg to stabilize, and gently flex your ankle through its full range of movement. Alternatively, instead of grabbing your knee, you can press a myofascial release ball or lacrosse ball and press it against your tibialis anterior while you gently flex your ankle through its full range of motion. Consult the images above for more direction.

Want to schedule an appointment with an iliotibial expert? Get in touch with us today. For more updates on the goings on around our office, catch us on Facebook and keep an eye out for upcoming free events!