‘Walking like a duck’ can relieve shin fractures: here’s how to waddle

RUnners will do almost anything to avoid being sidelined by injury, so it should come as no surprise that this TikTok touting the magic cure for leg cramps, an inflammation of the connective tissue that covers the front of the lower leg , which the repetitive motion patterns of walking or running can cause, has driven RunTok into an absolute frenzy. The video shows user @retiredcowgirlwowgirl marching down the street on her heels with her toes raised and then inverting them by turning her heels out and walking on her toes, an exercise she affectionately calls “duck walks.”

But like anything on the internet, you can’t take every TikTok as gospel, so we spoke to Ned Trim, a running coach at Mile High Running Club and Brooklyn Track Club, to find out if there’s any merit to this crazy warm-up. .

So is duck walking legit?

In short, yes. Although Trim has never heard them called “duck walks,” he is very familiar with the exercise @retiredcowgirlwowgirl is demonstrating in the video. Trim calls them “heel walks” and often prescribes them for his runners struggling with leg cramps.

“That, along with the toe walks, are simple basic strengthening and stretching exercises for the calf and shin,” says Trim.

How to walk crouched

Now that we know that waddling can help you combat leg cramps, let’s break down how to waddle like a pro. He starts by standing nice and straight, then raises his toes as high as he can, Trim says. Feel free to hold onto a wall for balance. Then take 20 small steps forward and repeat this three times.

Trim suggests following each set of heel walks with toe walks. Though he admits he’s never seen someone invert their toes like the runner does on TikTok, Trim says it could be a way to target the smaller muscles that run down the center and side of the calf. . But if kicking with your heels feels uncomfortable, standing on your toes is just as effective. Once you’re on your toes, take 20 small steps forward and repeat three times.

The good news is that incorporating duck walks into your warm-up before walking or running can help if you’re already battling pimples, but Trim warns that exercises like these will only serve as a Band-Aid if you can’t find the root of the problem. “Shin cramps are pain that manifests in the shins due to problems elsewhere,” she says.

What causes leg cramps?


Truth be told, there are a million reasons why you might be dealing with leg cramps, but one of the most common causes is excessive striding, says Trim. Over stride occurs when your foot drops too far forward of your center of gravity when you’re running or walking hard, which is harder on your knees, hips, and shins. If your foot goes past perpendicular to your knee, you’re taking too many strides, she says.

To avoid going over your stride, Trim recommends this simple exercise: Stand up straight and lean forward from the ankles. Keep leaning in until you have to step forward to grab on. This foot position and feel is what you should be aiming for with every step.

weak calves

Shin shin cramps can also be an indicator of calf weakness, says Trim. This is why exercises like waddling can help relieve pain because they strengthen and stretch the muscles in the lower leg. Trim also encourages his athletes to add eccentric calf drops to their running preparation every day.

To perform an eccentric calf drop, hold on to something stationary for balance and rise onto the balls of your feet. Then lift one of your legs off the ground and slowly lower the opposite heel to the floor, counting backwards from three and alternating which leg is raised. “That’s one of the best ways to strengthen your calf and decrease injuries,” he says.

Inappropriate running shoes

Another cause to consider is your favorite shoe. If you find that leg cramps are a persistent problem, it may be worth visiting your local sporting goods store to have them review your form, check to see if your current shoe is over-worn, and fit you with a pair that is the correct size. and style

Ultimately, you can hunker down and waddle all over the world, but if you don’t address the underlying problem, you’ll find shin splints to be a persistent and annoying running companion.

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