Sports Medicine
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Shin Splints – Taping Techniques

How to use tape for shin splints

Shin splints can be frustrating and are common for runners in particular. In this post, we describe taping techniques that may help ease the pain.

This post is taken from our new book Athletic Taping, Bracing, and Casting, 4th edition.

The colloquial term shin splints refers to leg pain that arises from a variety of sources, such as arch strains, tendinitis, compartment syndrome, or stress fractures of the tibia or fibula. Seek the assistance of an experienced clinician to identify the source and mechanism of injury.

Arch Strains

A strain, or falling of the longitudinal arch, causes the tarsal bones of the foot to
spread. The flattened foot can place undue stress where the extensor retinacula tie
the anterior tendons to the leg. The extra stress causes the patient to experience
pain in the distal leg.Shin Splints taping

Tendinitis

Tendinitis may occur in any of the tendons that cross the ankle, but the posterior tibial tendon receives the greatest number of injuries. Running on uneven or banked surfaces that place one ankle in continuous eversion will precipitate injury. A hyperpronated foot could also contribute to the injury mechanism.

Compartment Syndrome

The tibia, fibula and superficial fascia of the leg create a compartment through which the anterior muscles, the deep peroneal nerve, a vein and an artery traverse. When the anterior muscles swell, they create chronic anterior compartment syndrome, producing leg pain and numbness that radiate into the foot.Shin Splints taping ankle

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures to the tibia or fibula are a disruption to the periosteum and commonly occur in patients who undergo prolonged periods of running. No taping procedure will help the symptoms associated with a stress fracture. The patient usually requires 6 weeks of rest before the symptoms resolve.

Shin Splints – Taping technique

A haphazard taping approach often prevails in the treatment of shin splints. Several techniques exist to remedy leg pain. If the pain occurs because of a fallen longitudinal arch, the patient may find relief from simple arch taping combined with two or three strips placed around the distal leg to support the extensor retinacula (figure 2.29). A closed basketweave designed to limit eversion aids posterior tibial tendinitis. Patients have also reported relief from compression taping rather than from a procedure that supports the involved musculature (figure 2.30). No type of taping is likely to alleviate the effects of compartment syndrome or stress fractures.

This video demonstrates the application of tape to the anterior leg to support shin
splints.

Exercises for Shin Splints

The stretching and strengthening exercises for the ankle and longitudinal arch can also be effective in decreasing leg pain (some examples of these can be found in book Athletic Taping, Bracing, and Casting.) Have the patient give special attention to achieving a balance between the strength of the anterior and posterior leg muscles. The patient should also use high-quality footwear.

shin splint tape anterior

Further reading

Books

Athletic Taping, Bracing, and Casting

Examination of Musculoskeletal Injuries 4th Edition

Therapeutic Stretching

Blogs

Postural assessment of the pelvis with Jane Johnson

How to prevent and treat knee hyperextension

5 quick and simple drills to help improve your running foot strike

Strength and conditioning training to improve your 5k run time

Journals

Exercise-Induced Shin Pain

Treatment of Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome: A Critical Review

A Neuromuscular Intervention for Exercise-Related Medial Leg Pain

Webinar

If you are a massage therapist or physiotherapist you may be interested in our upcoming webinar Advice, exercises and treatments for low back pain presented by Jane Johnson. This webinar is co-hosted by Human Kinetics and the FHT. Sign up now, its free.

This entry was posted in: Sports Medicine

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Hi, I'm Ryan, one of the bloggers here at Human Kinetics Europe Ltd. (If you want my official title, it's Marketing Executive.) I've always had a passion for health and fitness, having previously worked in gyms and played a variety of sports all my life. Now (as a somewhat of a washed-up athlete) I find myself working at the world’s biggest independent publisher of sport, health, dance and fitness resources. Which is amazing! Why? Because I get unrestricted access to all the best, most interesting, scientifically-proven writing on sports science. And what's more, I get to share it all with you!

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