Q. Why does my shin muscles become hard after playing football?

Answered by
Mohammed Wajid
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 29, 2022

Hello doctor,

I have a condition where within a few minutes of playing sports like football or any fast feet moving sport, my shin muscles, feet muscles, and lower soleus muscles all stiffen up and become hard. My ankle becomes unmovable, and it hurts a lot. I have to stop for about 10 to 15 minutes to settle down. After that, if I play again, it starts again. I have had this condition for over ten years. It has completely ruined my sports life. I do not know what to do about it. The internet says the only way to confirm compartment syndrome is compartment pressure measurement, and it does not exist where I live. So, please give me your opinion on this.

Thank you.



Welcome to

Thanks for writing in, and I understand your concern. You need not worry about pains in the lower limbs for the shin, ankle, and soleus. With the below exercises, your muscles will gain strength.

They are:

1. Toe curls- Stand with feet hip-width apart and right foot on a towel, with the toes of your right foot and gather the towel and slowly pull it toward you. Return to start. Complete 10 to 15 repetitions, then repeat with the other foot.

2. Monster walk- Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart and place a resistance band around your thighs. You can use one long resistance band tied in a loop or a smaller circular band. Keep feet far enough apart to maintain tension on the band. Step forward with the left foot then the right foot. Then step to the left with the left foot then the right foot. Step backward with the left foot then the right foot. Step right with the right foot then the left foot. You walk in a square. Repeat going in the opposite direction.

3. Heel drop- Stand with feet staggered on a step with right toes on the edge of the step. Shift your weight to your right leg and bend your left knee to lower right heel down below the step. Return to starting position and complete 10 to 15 repetitions. Then repeat with your left leg.

4. Single leg bridge- Lie faceup with your arms resting at sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Extend right leg straight out so that knees are in line. Squeeze gluteal muscles and engage the left hamstring to lift your hips off the floor. Complete 10 to 15 repetitions. Repeat on another side. Freeze a paper cup filled with water, tear off the top edge of the cup, and massage with comfortable pressure along the inside of the shinbone for 10 to 15 minutes after running to reduce inflammation. Ankle rotation, Achilles stretch, towel stretch, soleus stretch, and cross leg ankle stretch.

If unable to do exercises or feel pain after workouts, let me know or visit the nearest physiotherapy clinic for proper assessment and treatment.


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