Shin splints – Kinesiology tape

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Shin splints is a collective term for different shin conditions, such as sprain shins, shin splints, irritation and overload of the shin bone. They are troublesome conditions which cause pain at the front of the shin bone. They are common among runners, athletes, walkers and game players. A “modern” name for Shin Splints is Tibial Stress Syndrome. On this page, we describe the various shin splints and you can watch an instructional video on one of the treatment options.

How do shin splints occur?

Shin splints can be caused by problems with the muscles, muscle attachments, the bone membrane or the bone itself. It is usually a combination of factors, and the problems often arise from overburdening. For this reason, it is important that a therapist finds out what exactly the cause is and which structures are influencing the complaints. Kinesiology taping can then be part of the treatment plan. Taping improves the blood circulation and reduces pain, which in turn restores function and enables faster recovery.

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Video tutorial – Shin splint and medial tibial stress syndrome taping

What shinbone injuries are common?

– Inflammation of the periosteum.

The attachment of the posterior tibial muscle is overloaded due to the inward tilting of the foot (overpronation). Palpation over the bone surface feels painful and the pain often gets worse with loading. The pain often starts during an activity, but can also become chronic if the complaint persists for a longer time.

Lower leg anatomy-1
Medical Taping application for shin splints 1
Medical Taping application for shin splints 2

A sedative Y or I tape can be applied with a slight stretch (10-15%) to the posterior tibial muscle to reduce strain on the attachment of the muscle that supports the foot arch. The tape follows the fascial attachment at the tibial edge.

– Tendonitis due to a difference in leg length or a foot deformity.

A difference in leg length or a foot deformity puts more stress on the muscles and tendons, resulting in inflammation.

– Compartment syndrome (lodging syndrome)

A rapid extreme increase in muscle mass (often of the tibialis anterior muscle) causes increased tissue pressure and disturbs the blood flow. Pain is usually located in the anterior compartment of the tibia. When strained, there is a pressing, stabbing pain accompanied by cramping and swelling of the area. The skin may be shiny and feel warm.

Lower leg anatomy-2
Medical Taping application for shin splints 3
Medical Taping application for shin splints 4

As part of a treatment, a sedative tape with slight stretching (10-15%) can be applied to the anterior tibial muscle.

Stress fracture of the bone (fibula or tibia)

As a result of overburdening (often from excessive running and jumping), a partial bone fracture may occur. It often starts with a dull ache during loading but can cause extreme pains throughout the day. A bone scan or X-ray can show the fracture.

– Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

This is a condition that causes pain on the inside of the shin (the front of the leg, between the knee and the ankle). It is an injury caused by overloading the lower leg and is common among runners, athletes, military personnel and people who play a lot of jumping sports.

A tape combination that can be used in cases of osteoporosis can be seen in the instruction video on this site. Overloading of the posterior tibial muscle and/or the soleus muscle cause the complaints. In the video, a sedative tape (CureTape Art – Tattoo) is applied over the posterior tibial muscle with about 10-15% stretch. Then, depending on the size of the area, one or two Y-tapes are applied with a fascia technique (jigging technique). This technique is used to influence the direction of movement. Pay attention that the beginning of the Y-tape is applied exactly at the point of pain and then jig the two strips with approximately 40% stretch.

Medical Taping application for shin splints 5
Medical Taping application for shin splints 6

If you are curious about the possibilities of kinesiology taping for shin splints, consult a therapist who has experience with the kinesiology taping Concept and the right knowledge of how CureTape® can be used as part of a therapeutic treatment program.

Evidence: Functional outcomes of Kinesio Taping versus standard orthotics in the management of Shin Splints Shaji J. KACHANATHU et al. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017.

40 Persons with Shin Splints were divided into 2 groups of 20 persons. One group with anti-pronation Kinesiotape and one group with standard orthotics. The results were compared in 3 tests: VAS Pain score – Navicular Drop Test to determine the degree of pronation and a Hop Test for distance.

Results: The kinesio tape intervention group showed significant improvements in pain and hop distance compared to the standard orthotic intervention group. This is while no significant difference was observed between both intervention groups on the Navicular Drop Test. Improvements were seen in both groups, however, the response to kinesiotaping was better than the response to orthotics.

Please note that applications provided on our website are not clinically proven. All mentioned applications are based on extensive evaluation and case studies with licensed physiotherapists and/or other health professionals.

Attention: Mentioning source is mandatory, when using the content on this page.

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