This quick and easy taping technique can be used to relieve the pain of shin splints, and is simple enough to perform on yourself. All you need is a roll of zinc oxide tape!
Shin splints are a very common sports injury and often manifest as a dull pain from the general area of the shin, which may be accompanied by swelling. The pain often becomes more intense and debilitating if you attempt to keep exercising – so it is a good idea to stop activity at the first sign of shin pain.
Typically shin splints are caused by Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), which involves damage and inflammation to the connective tissue covering the shinbone. MTSS is often associated with the overloading and repetitive impact of running, and seems more likely to occur if you suddenly increase the duration or intensity of exercise.
The first step in treating shin splints should be to rest and to ice the affected area, and you can use this taping technique to help with the pain while you rest. However, if the pain persists or gets worse despite rest you should seek medical attention because it could indicate a more serious problem.
- Begin taping at the bony ridge on the front of the ankle. Wrap the zinc oxide tape towards the outside of the leg (i.e. the lateral side, or little toe side) at an upward angle.
- Continue around the outside of the leg so that the tape comes up onto the lower calf.
- Bring the zinc oxide tape up around the calf – basically, you’re taping up the leg in a spiral pattern.
- Tape around onto the inside of the leg, continuing the upward spiral.
- As you come around the inside of the leg and onto the shin, apply more tension to the tape so that you are visibly pulling the soft tissue of the calf towards the front of the leg.
- Finish the strip of zinc oxide tape on the outside of the leg. Step-by-step, the spiral of tape up the leg should look something like this:
- Apply a second spiral of zinc oxide tape above the first, following the same path. Overlap the original spiral by about 1/3 to 1/2 of its width. The finished article:
Tip: If you’ve got hairy legs you may find that the tape doesn’t stick very well. You’ll have to shave your legs, or at least trim back the hair. If you decide to wet shave the leg, do it at least 24 hours before taping to give any skin irritation time to calm down.
Another Tip: We also sell a brace for shin splints that you may find useful if you don’t want to use tape.