Muscle Strain in Anterior Tibialis

by Justin Shemo
(Arlington, TX, USA)

I'm training for Marine Corps Officer Candidate School which obviously entails lots of running. The current goal is to get my 3 mile run time below 20 minutes.

About a year ago, I trained up too fast and I suffered a stress fracture in my left tibia which took me out for a few months.

After I came back, my recruiting Captain told me to try a new stretch. The stretch entailed sitting on my feet with them pointed behind me, stretching the anterior tibialis. He told me this would hurt but to hold it for 2 mintutes after each run and the pain would go away after a few months.

Well I did this stretch religiously and it DID hurt. After 3 weeks of doing this stretch, about 1.5 miles in to each run, my anterior tibialis muscles would lock up and become very inflammed and I couldn't even dorsiflex my foot at all.

I just assumed this was bad due to bad conditioning on my part but after a while I started to corrolate the problem with the stretch, because I never had this problem before and I never did this stretch before.

I ended up doing this stretch for about 3 months. I stopped doing this stretch a couple of weeks ago and I haven't ran since, trying to get the muscle to heal.

Does it sound like I've overstretched this muscle? What would be the preferred course of action and time frame to fix this problem?

Thank you for your time,

Justin Shemo

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Feb 01, 2008
Good Questions...
by: Bart - SII

It is possible that there is a correlation between your anterior tibialis stretch and the pain that you are having.

If you were not having this problem before, and now you are, there could be some relationship.

Anytime that you stretch, you should only stretch to the point of very mild discomfort. It should be a "good" pain, and not painful. It is possible to overstretch a muscle, causing some inflammation and irritation. If this has happened to your anterior tibialis, then it could explain your symptoms.

The only way to know for sure what is going on is to see your physician for an evaluation.

If you have strained the anterior tibialis, it will probably take a couple weeks to heal, with the appropriate treatment. Ice, gentle stretching, and gradually returning to activities are all a good idea.

If this problem continues, or gets worse, get in to see your doctor.

Hope this helps...comment back if you have more questions.

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