Stretches For Tibialis Anterior 5 Steps To Pain Free Shins

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Stretches For Tibialis Anterior

Whether or not you have tight shin muscles, pain or tight knees, You will want to spend time doing stretches for Tibialis Anterior several times a week. The Tibialis Anterior is at the front of the lower part of your leg. Its job is flexing the foot up and it lengthens as the food is lowered back down.

The Tibialis Anterior receives most of its stressors from Jogging, Walking and sports that involve a lot of stop and start sprinting.


The Tibialis Anterior generally starts to get aggravated if you make large jumps in distance or speed of your sprinting, jogging or walking.

This often leads to painful shins.

The way the lower leg is arranged it can be difficult to stretch the Tibialis Anterior. Often times the foot will not point far enough to truly stretch the Tibialis Anterior. 

Performing these easy stretches will help elongate your Tibialis Anterior and hopefully easing the tightness in the muscle and reduction or elimination of pain.

What Is The Tibialis Anterior?

The Tibialis Anterior is located at the front of your lower leg. The Tibialis Anterior is on the outside portion of the Tibia (Shin Bone). It starts and a thick muscle and tapers into a tendon as it runs down the lower leg inserting at the largest bone in the upper foot.

  • Origin:  The upper half of the lateral and anterior surface of the tibia.
  • Insertion: The inside surface of the medial cuneiform and first metatarsal.

What Does The Tibialis Anterior Do?

The Tibialis Anterior is the strongest dorsiflexor of the ankle. The muscle is responsible for ankle dorsiflexion and inversion. The Tibialis Anterior supports the ankle through horizontal movement as it inverts. The Tibialis Anterior will reduce the chances of damages when an ankle is rolled.

Movements such as walking and running are supported by the Tibialis Anterior. The muscles is used as a stabilization of the ankle while the foot is in contact with the ground.

The Tibialis Anterior is also crucial in maintaining and supports the medial arch of your foot. This ability is vital to guarantee your gait is smooth and consistent.

Whenever your ankle is flexed (toes pointing up) the Tibialis Anterior is the muscle in charge of contraction.

How Does The Tibialis Anterior Become Tight.

A tight Tibialis Anterior becoming tight can make general movement not a very pleasant experience. Running and even walking can become irritating. A tight Tibialis Anterior can even lead to shin splints if not addressed.

Tibialis Anterior can tighten up from any of the following reasons: 

  • Over worked muscles.
  • Prolonged workouts.
  • Running, jumping or any other high impact activities.
  • Unbalanced gait when walking or running.
  • Sudden and dramatic change in exercise routine.

When Should You Start Doing Stretches For Tibialis Anterior?

Right now!

Everyone should be stretching and strengthening the Tibialis Anterior muscle. Yes it is a smallish muscle in comparison to some muscles in the body. But it is extremally vital for any movement the body needs to perform with the lower body.

This holds especially true for any athlete who participates in a lot of running or jumping activities. A strong, flexible and relaxed Tibialis Anterior will aid in counteracting the negative side effects of the impacts that your lower body will experience.

The Benefits Of Stretches For Tibialis Anterior.

Like every other muscle. The Tibialis Anterior benefits with regular stretching and strengthening .

Aim to keep your muscles strong and pliable will give you a lifetime of pain free movement, strength to maintain daily activities with ease and fully develop the lower leg.

When adding strengthening and stretching to the Tibialis Anterior you can expect the following benefits:

  • Higher jumps.
  • Improved resistance to impact.
  • Reduced risks of injury to your feet, ankles and calves.
  • Reduced risk of Tibialis Anterior Tendonitis.
  • Lower chance of getting shin splints or stress fractures.
  • Improved recovery if you have shin splints.
  • Improved athletic performance.

Best 3 Stretches For Tibialis Anterior.

Stretching the Tibialis Anterior is a great fast way to experience relief from tight muscles and alleviating shin splints pain. Whenever the idea of stretching the lower body gets brought up. peoples mind quickly goes to focusing on the calves. It’s important to also stretch out the Tibialis Anterior muscle to avoid Tightening muscle and leg pain.

These 3 stretches for the Tibialis Anterior start with the easiest and work up to the most difficult. Remember to start slow and never stretch to the point of pain.

Lets get into it..

Top Stretches

1. Lying Tibialis Anterior Stretch.

Starting off with the most controlled stretch. The Lying Tibialis Anterior Stretch allows you to control the amount of stretch the Tibialis Anterior receives, while also getting a decent Quad stretch also.

How To Perform The Stretch:

  • Start lying on your side.
  • Bend your top leg behind you and grab your toes.
  • Slowly pull your toes towards your glutes.
  • Hold for 30 – 60 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

Credit To PhilaMassages.

2. Seated Tibialis Anterior Stretch.

Moving to a deeper stretch. The Seated Tibialis Anterior Stretch. This stretch allows you to start using your body weight to gain a better stretch for the Tibialis Anterior.

How To Perform The Stretch:

  • Start sitting on a chair.
  • Lower the knee down and place the top of the foot on the ground behind you.
  • Slowly lean forward, Pushing into the ground with the top of the foot.
  • Try to hold for one minute.
  • Repeat on the other leg.


Credit To PhilaMassages.

3. Standing Tibialis Anterior Stretch.

Going into the movement that allows the deepest stretch for the Tibialis Anterior.  The Tibialis Anterior stretch can put the most amount of bodyweight into the stretch and allows the most elongation of the muscle.

How To Perform The Stretch:

  • Start standing with your feet hip width apart.
  • Pick up one foot and place the top of that foot behind you pressing it into the ground.
  • Bend the front knee and drop into the stretch.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute each leg.

Credit To Vive Health.

Foam Rolling The Tibialis Anterior.

Foam rolling is an extremely useful and beneficial tool to unknotting a tight muscle and increasing mobility and flexibility into the targeted muscle.

It can feel incredibly uncomfortable but after only a few sessions of foam rolling you will find that there is less tightness in the Tibialis Anterior and more mobility in the muscle.

How To Foam Roll The Tibialis Anterior:

  • Place the foam rolled a few inches above the ankle joint.
  • Hands in line with the shoulder as you would in a plank.
  • Rotate the foot internally slightly. (This will mean you roll over the muscle instead of the bone.)
  • Roll up the muscle slowly to a few inches below the knee.
  • Any tender spots you roll over hold for 1 minute or until you feel it release.
  • Slowly roll back down to starting position.

Strengthening The Tibialis Anterior.


Strengthening your Tibialis Anterior will drastically bullet proof your lowers legs and train an often neglected muscle. The Calf muscles are often thrown into a workout but people often overlook the front of the lower leg. 

This will often lead to imbalances.

Training the Tibialis Anterior will not only allow you to fully develop your lower leg but will also vastly reduce your chance of injury.

We are going to build up strength the same way we built up stretching intensity using 2 bodyweight exercises that you can progress over time and even add resistance.

1. Seated Toe Raises

The seated toe raise is the easiest variation to work the Tibialis Anterior. Even then with an underdeveloped Tibialis Anterior this exercise can be significantly challenging.

How To Perform This Exercise: 

  • Sit on a chair with feet flat on the ground.
  • Slowly raise your toes and feet up keeping the heel on the ground.
  • At the height of the squeeze hold of 2 seconds.
  • Perform 2 – 3 sets of 25 reps.

Credit to OrthoIndy Northwest.

2. Standing Tibialis Raises.

Moving to a more intense version of this exercise is the standing toe raises. All you need to do this exercise is a wall.

How To Perform This Exercise:

  • Stand next to a wall with your feet out in front of you (The further your feet are out the harder the exercise will be).
  • Leaning against the wall with legs straight.
  • Raise the toes off the ground and hold at the top for 2 seconds.
  • Slowly lower back down.
  • Perform 3 sets of 25 reps.

Credit To Wade Bass.

Why Does My Tibialis Anterior Hurt?

As with most muscles the most common cause of pain for the Tibialis Anterior is overuse. This is mainly seen in cardio such as jogging, sprints and cycling. The high impacts of running especially means that if the Tibialis Anterior isn’t trained and conditioned it can become the weak link.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Shin Splints?

It is hard to be specific as everyone’s body is different but most of the time shin splints will go away in roughly 2 to 4 weeks. After the legs have had sufficient rest and time to heal.

Make sure that you take shin splints seriously. If left unattended it can lead to a stress fracture. Which will take a few weeks of recovery to a few months of recovery.

As soon as you feel any irritation or pain in the shins then begin performing Tibialis stretches.

Should I Do Stretches And Foam Rolling If I Have Shin Splints?

Absolutely! The combination of stretching and self massage will speed up recovery from the shin splints.

How To Know If You Have Tibialis Anterior Muscle Strain.

The most common symptoms of a strained Tibialis Anterior are felt in the front of the lower leg and include:

  • Swelling.
  • Aches, Sharp burning or cramping pain.
  • Weakness when flexing the ankle upwards (pointing toes up).
  • Increased tension / Pressure.

It is important to figure out the exact cause of the issue causing pain in your Tibialis Anterior. 

How Do You Fix Your Tibialis Anterior.

Firstly if you are having issues with your Tibialis Anterior consult a doctor or medical professional. If the injury has just happened to you the regular protocol until you can visit a professional is the RICE method.

Once that has been done following the protocols in this article with strengthen and reduce pain for your Tibialis anterior such as:

  • Stretching.
  • Strengthening.
  • Hot and Cold therapy.
  • Mobilization.
  • Slowing build up exercise.


Maintaining and increasing a strong Tibialis Anterior is necessary if you want to continue performing regular high impact exercise without running into problems from injury. Adding some of this quick exercises into your program you can maintain pain free Tibialis Anterior.

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