Shin splints are the inevitable side effect of logging the miles, especially for those who often run on hard surfaces. This notorious overuse injury can also stop runners in their tracks, often taking weeks to fully heal.
Luckily, KT tape can give your muscles a little relief. But knowing why, how, and where exactly to tape your shins can be a bit tricky.
Worry no more.
In today’s article, I’ll spill the beans on shin splints, its causes, red flags, and also show you how to use kinesiology taping to soothe this painful injury. By the end of this post, not only will you know what the condition is all about, but also learn how to tape your shins at home for shin splints like a pro.
Are you excited?
Here we go.
Shin splints are the all-catch-term often used to refer to pain on the side of the shin, and it’s one of the most agonizing pains a runner can suffer from
The condition occurs when you overstress the muscles in the front of the shin, causing inflammation in the muscle, bone, and surrounding tissue. This can be blamed on running or performing other high impact exercises for extended periods of time without proper recovery.
Pain is commonly experienced along the tibia shone or the legs following running—or other forms of high impact exercise.
The condition is common in athletes participating in high impact activities, including runners, tennis players, military personnel, and dancers. Surveys show that shin splints make up 13 percent of all running injuries.
So what can you do about it?
Besides rest, stretching, and strength training, KT can also help ease pain and significantly speed up the recovery process.
Let’s see why and how.
The Benefits of Tape
Also known as K tape, or physio tape, Kinesio tape is, quite literally, a thick, elastic, heat-activated sports tape that you apply to your muscles, acting a sort of second skin. The KT offers sensory input into the affected region but still allows for full range of motion.
Using kinesis tape to deal with shin splints is an effective method for soothing or preventing symptoms of shin splints.
Don’t take my word for it. Research out of the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness that that assessed subjects with shin splints revealed that those using the tape for just a week reported less pain than those who used shoe insoles.
Here’s how it helps.
Speeds Up Recovery
When your shin is injured, your body sends lymphatic fluid to that affected area, causing it to swell and become inflamed. This results in soreness and pain, which is never fun.
However, using KT, especially tapes with elastic properties, can limit soreness by lifting up the skin and promoting greater mobility of lymphatic fluid, speeding up healing in the process.
Relaxes the muscles
The tape facilitates muscular contractions of the tibialis anterior muscle, which can improve your muscle function and reduce the pressure on tissues to soothe the pain.
You can use the tape to treat other lower extremities overuse injuries, such as plantar fasciitis, posterior tibialis tendinopathy, and Achilles tendinopathy.
Taping is a straightforward, cheap, and quick measure you can take to improve your shin splints condition and return to running as soon as possible.
It’s Not The Ultimate Answer
Just keep in mind that tape is the panacea fix to all of your shin issues. In fact, you should be using it in addition to there treatment methods to completely heal the injury.
How to Apply Kinesio Tape For Shin Splints Pain
Now let’s get to the practical stuff. Here’s the step by step guide on how to tape your shin splints for a quick recovery.
Word of caution. Before taping your shins, I’d recommend that you visit your doctor to ensure it’s safe for you to do. Before applying the tape, understand the side effects of suing KT tape and assess the specific types of strips used.
Get The Tape
You can purchase either kinesiology tape or trainers tape at most pharmacies or sports stores, and even some larger retailers. Just avoid using duct tape as you risk blistering and shearing of your skin.
Wash your legs, cleaning any dirt, sweat, and oils off your skin with water and a mild cleanser. Next, dry them thoroughly with a towel. You might also need to trim or shave any hair on your legs. This helps ensure that the tape adheres effectively to your skin.
Measure The Tape
Start measuring from the bony bump on the outside of the foot, then around the sole of your feet, to roughly halfway up your shin. Make sure the tape is long enough to cover your lower leg or at least the affected area. Keep in mind that the KT will be longer once stretched.
Next, cut an ‘I’ strip of KT that’s about three inches shorter than the length of your shin—or at least as long as the pained area.
Hold the tape at the center-top of your foot, roughly two inches beneath the top of your big toe, then unroll it until it reaches just below the outside of your knee. Cut tape there.
Find The Muscle
Make sure to apply the tape on the top part of the anterior tibial muscle. To find it, move your toes up toward your knee, actively flexing your ankle. The anterior tibial muscle is located roughly two inches under the lateral aspects of your knee.
Apply It Right
Apply one piece on your shin, starting from the top of your foot. While keeping your ankle flexed, apply the other end of KT to your big toe and top of your foot. This should create a tape bridge over your shin.
Next, apply a small strip horizontally across your shin, roughly below the affected area. Pull this strip firmly. Then put another small horizontal strip of tape just above the affected area.
Peel off the residual paper and stretch the tape to stick just below the base of your big toe, foot still flexed. Remove the edge of KT and stick without any tension.
Rub the tape with the palm of your hand to heat it up and activate the adhesive. This helps it better bond to your skin.
Wait for at least an hour after applying the tape to run, or it might come off. Also, don’t jump into the shower immediately after applying the tape, or it won’t adhere.
You can leave the tape on for up to three to five days, and you can get it wet. Just keep an eye for any signs of irritation around the KT, and remove it if your skin becomes red, a rash, itchiness, or any other adverse side effects.
There you have it. A simple tool like a Kinesio tape 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.