Conquer Shin Splints with KT Tape: A Runner’s Guide to Pain Relief and Recovery

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Cross Training For Runners
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Written by :

David Dack

Curious about how KT tape can help with shin splints? You’re in the right spot!

Shin splints, that pesky result of pounding the pavement, especially on unforgiving hard surfaces, are a runner’s bane. They can halt even the most dedicated in their tracks, sometimes taking what feels like forever to heal.

Enter KT tape, your new secret weapon against this frustrating injury.

The tape’s magic? Giving those aching muscles some well-deserved relief. However, the challenge lies in understanding the precise technique: where to tape, how to tape, and why.

Don’t fret! Today, I’ll demystify shin splints for you – from their causes to warning signs. Plus, I’ll walk you through the art and science of using kinesiology tape to address this discomfort.

Sounds great? Let’s get started.

The Definition – KT tape For Shin Splints

Shin splints is a catch-all term for that aching pain you feel along the side of your shin. In medical terms, it’s pain along the tibia, the larger of the two shin bones.

The Culprit: It’s like an injury cocktail – overstressing muscles at the front of the shin, inflammation in the muscle, bone, and surrounding tissues. And voilà, you’ve got yourself shin splints!

Why Me? Love running marathons? Fancy a game of tennis? Or maybe you’re into dancing? Extended periods of high-impact exercise without proper rest and recovery can lead to shin splints. It’s no wonder they account for a whopping 13% of all running-related injuries!

Enter: KT Tape

KT (Kinesiology Therapeutic) tape isn’t just colorful tape you see on athletes; it’s a healer. By providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting movement, it can help:

  • Reduce Pain: KT tape lifts the skin, creating a small space between the muscle and dermis layers. This assists in relieving pressure and pain.
  • Speed up Recovery: It improves blood flow to the muscles, accelerating the healing process.
  • Provide Support: The tape helps in maintaining a good posture and supporting muscles, reducing strain on the affected area.

Besides KT tape, remember that rest, stretching, and strength training can also work wonders in managing and preventing shin splints. But always, always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions on treatment!

Run smart, stay injury-free, and keep pushing those boundaries!

The Benefits Of KT Tape For Shin Splints

Kinesio Tape, often affectionately dubbed K tape or physio tape, is much more than just a colorful accessory sported by athletes. It’s a literal game-changer in the world of sports medicine.

Here’s the science behind it.

  • A Second Skin: Just like how our skin offers protection and sensory input, K tape acts as an external touchpoint. When applied, it mimics the skin’s elasticity, providing that extra layer of support to the muscles beneath.
  • Maintains Mobility: Unlike rigid tapes, KT ensures you don’t lose your range of motion. It offers support without making you feel bound or restricted.
  • Pain, Begone!: Using Kinesio tape for shin splints isn’t just a popular recommendation; it’s backed by research. A study from the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness showed that individuals with shin splints who used the tape for a mere week felt a more significant reduction in pain compared to those using shoe insoles.

Speeds Up Recovery

When there’s an injury, especially to areas like the shin, the body’s natural response is to send lymphatic fluid to the injury site. While this is a natural healing process, it often leads to swelling and inflammation, causing discomfort.

Enter the magic of KT. The tape, with its elastic properties, gently lifts the skin. This creates a tiny space between the skin and the muscle, which helps facilitate a more efficient flow of lymphatic fluid. The result? Faster healing and reduced swelling!

Relaxes the muscles

This is a vital player when it comes to shin splints. It’s the muscle that sits on the shin’s outer part and plays a significant role in foot and ankle function.

When you slap on that KT, it facilitates the muscular contractions of the tibialis anterior. This not only aids in optimizing its function but also reduces undue pressure on the surrounding tissues. And when that pressure’s relieved, voila! Pain is significantly reduced.


While KT is a rockstar for shin splints, it’s also a champ for other overuse injuries. Whether you’re grappling with the heel pain from plantar fasciitis, the discomfort of posterior tibialis tendinopathy, or the sting of runners knee, KT has got you covered.

You can cut and shape KT to suit the specific injury area, providing targeted support wherever it’s needed.

It’s Cheap

Friendly on the Pocket: Sports recovery tools can often put a dent in your wallet, but not KT! It offers an affordable solution to help manage and prevent injuries.

  • Quick Fix: No need for lengthy procedures. Taping is a swift and simple measure to get you back on track, making it perfect for those who are always on the go.
  • Easy to Learn: With plenty of tutorials and physiotherapists offering guidance, you can quickly learn the best techniques for applying KT for various injuries.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to calf pain while running

KT tape For Shin Splints IS Not The Ultimate Answer

While KT tape can feel like magic in a roll for shin splints relief, it’s important to remember it’s not the be-all and end-all solution.

Some Key Points to Bear in Mind:

  • KT tape shines as a supplementary aid. Think of it as an excellent teammate in your recovery journey, but not the sole player.
  • Rest: The age-old remedy remains true. Sometimes, the best medicine for an injury is simply giving your body the time it needs to heal.
  • Strength Training: Building up the surrounding muscles can offer added support and reduce the likelihood of re-injury.
  • Stretching: Maintaining flexibility can help alleviate strain and stress on the injured area.
  • Professional Guidance: A physical therapist or sports doctor can provide personalized guidance tailored to your injury and recovery progress.

It’s crucial to stay updated and informed about different treatments and their effects. What might work wonders for one individual might not be as effective for another.

In a nutshell, while KT tape is a fantastic tool in your shin splints recovery toolkit, it should be used in conjunction with other treatment methods. Always listen to your body and seek professional advice for a comprehensive recovery plan. After all, your health is a mosaic, and every piece contributes to the complete picture.

How To Apply KT Tape For Shin Splints Pain

Ready to give your shins the relief they need? Let’s dive into the practical steps of taping your shin splints. Remember, while taping can provide a respite from pain, it’s essential to consult with a professional and understand the intricacies before taking the plunge.

1. Safety First :

Medical Consultation: Before reaching for that roll of tape, ensure you’ve checked with your doctor or a physiotherapist. This ensures that taping is suitable for your condition.

Know the Basics: Understand any side effects of using KT tape and familiarize yourself with the specific types of strips you’ll be using.

2. Acquire the Right Tape:

Head over to your local pharmacy, sports store, or even larger retailers to pick up kinesiology tape or trainers tape.

Ditch the Duct Tape: It might be tempting, but using duct tape can lead to painful blisters and skin damage. Stick (pun intended!) to medical-grade tape.

3. Prep Time:

Wash Away: Cleanse your legs thoroughly to get rid of any dirt, sweat, and oils that might hinder the tape’s adhesive power. Opt for a gentle cleanser and rinse with water.

Dry it Off: Make sure your legs are bone dry before proceeding. This ensures optimal adhesion.

Hair Be Gone: If you’re particularly hairy, consider trimming or shaving the region where the tape will be applied. A smoother surface helps the tape stick better and ensures a more comfortable removal process.

4. Taping Technique:

Start by cutting a length of tape, enough to cover the shin area.

Anchor the tape above the site of pain, and gently lay the tape over the affected area without stretching it.

Press firmly to ensure it adheres, but avoid pulling it tight.

Apply a second strip if needed, overlapping the first by half its width, following the length of your shin. This provides extra support.

5. Time to Test:

Once taped, walk around a bit and check for comfort. The tape shouldn’t constrict your movement or cause any discomfort.

6. Additional Tip:

For other taping techniques, like for runner’s knee, click here. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better you’ll be equipped to handle various injuries.

Remember, the tape can stay on for several days, but if you experience any irritation, itching, or worsening of symptoms, remove it immediately and seek guidance. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Measure The Tape

Measure Twice, Cut Once :

  • Starting Point: Begin by identifying the bony bump on the outside of your foot. This is your anchor point.
  • Trail the Path: Continue measuring the tape around the sole of your foot and then move upwards until you’re roughly halfway up your shin.
  • Just the Right Length: Make sure the tape extends to cover your lower leg or, at the very least, the affected area. Remember, the tape will have some give and will stretch a bit more when applied.

2. Cutting the ‘I’ Strip :

From the tape you’ve measured, cut an ‘I’ strip that’s about three inches shorter than your shin length. Or, at the very least, ensure it covers the affected area.

3. Tape Deployment :

  • Anchor it Down: Position the tape, starting roughly two inches beneath the top of your big toe.
  • Roll with it: Gently unroll the tape upwards, ensuring it remains smooth and free of wrinkles. The endpoint should be just below the outside of your knee.

4. Pinpointing the Anterior Tibial Muscle :

To find this key muscle, flex your ankle by moving your toes upward, closer to your knee.

Identify it: The anterior tibial muscle is located about two inches under the lateral (outside) portion of your knee. This is where your tape will focus its magic!

Apply It Right

Start with the Base : Begin at the top of your foot, attaching the end of the tape. While keeping your ankle flexed, continue the tape application towards the big toe and top of your foot.

2. Create the Bridge :

The tape should create a supportive “bridge” across your shin, ensuring that it covers the shin splint affected area.

Make sure it’s smooth, without any wrinkles or folds.

3. Apply Supportive Strips :

Place a shorter horizontal strip of tape just below the primary painful area of your shin. Ensure it’s pulled taut, but not too tight to constrict.

Follow this with a similar strip just above the sore spot. This dual strip action offers support both above and below the affected region.

4. Proper Adhesion:

After positioning your tape, peel off any residual paper from the tape.

Ensure the tape stretches adequately and adheres below the base of your big toe. Remember to keep your foot flexed during this step.

When sticking the tape edges, there should be no extra tension. It should sit comfortably on the skin.

5. Activate the Magic!:

Gently rub the tape using the palm of your hand. This friction produces heat, activating the adhesive on the tape.

This step ensures a stronger bond between the tape and your skin, making sure it stays in place during your activities.


Patience is Key : Once you’ve taped up your shin, resist the urge to hit the pavement immediately. Give the adhesive some time to firmly grip onto your skin. Likewise, avoid taking a shower right away. Water might weaken the adhesive before it has a chance to set.

  1. Duration :

The magic of KT tape is in its longevity. It’s designed to stay put, offering support for several days.

Generally, you can sport the tape for a duration of three to five days. Yes, even during showers or baths! The tape is water-resistant, though it’s a good idea to pat it dry afterward.

  1. Listen to Your Skin:

While KT tape is skin-friendly for most, always be vigilant about how your skin reacts to it.

If you notice redness, itchiness, a rash, or any signs of irritation, it’s a cue to remove the tape. Remember, your health and safety always come first.

Additional Resources:

KT tape For Shin Splints – The Conclusion

There you have it.

This is all you need to know about using KT tape for shin splints pain.

This simple tool can actually go a long way in soothing your shin pain, even preventing the injury in the future.

Just be willing to try it for yourself and see if it helps.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

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