Shin Splints Tape for Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

Shin Splints Tape – What is it?

Shin splints tape and shin splint taping techniques are commonly used to provide relief from the painful symptoms of the condition, which is medically referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome.

The tape used for shin splints is often very stretchy and sticky, and is designed to stay adhered to the skin for five to seven days. Your sports podiatrist may prefer a particular brand based on their experience and results with treating shin splints using tape. There are many colour and pattern options, but these do not affect the properties or efficacy of the shin splints tape.

What is shin splints?

Shin splints it is not a specific injury in itself, but an overuse syndrome. Shin splints is a term that is used to describe the pain that can be felt on the inside of the shin, which is the main symptom of the condition. Shin splints tape techniques can be used to alleviate some of the symptoms of the condition. These symptoms can include:

  • Pain that is at its worst at the beginning of a bout of exercise or training session, often improves during exercise, but returns following the cessation of exercise or even the following day
  • Pain that is present when palpating (pressing) along the inside of the shin
  • Possible redness along the shin, due to inflammation
  • Lumps and bumps along the shin bone (tibia), which may occur in chronic cases and are indicative of bony deposits forming on the bone in response to repeated trauma.

Shin splints often develop over time, and in many cases the patient has continued to exercise and push through the pain. This is not a condition that develops acutely, that is, overnight. Medial stress syndrome (as it is otherwise known) develops when then lower leg muscles constantly pull on the tibia. Surrounding the tibia, is a protective sheath which is called the periosteum. When shin splints develops, it is actually the periosteum that becomes inflamed and painful, as a result of the muscles and tendons constantly placing strain upon it.

Shin Splints Tape for Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

What is the benefit of shin splints tape?

Shin splints tape- when applied correctly with sound technique- can offer almost immediate pain relief by supporting the lower leg muscles and reducing their pull on the periosteum of the tibia. A qualified sports podiatrist can instruct you on how to correctly apply shin splints tape so that it is effective for your symptoms. The tape may be applied in a spiral pattern around the lower leg and up around the shin, or down the length of your shin and then laterally (horizontally) across the most painful parts, depending on your practitioner’s preference and your condition. No matter how it is applied, the aim of taping for shin splints is to pull the muscles close to the bone, reducing the traction force on the shin, therefore supporting the structures and allowing the inflamed tissues to heal.

Treating Shin Splints with Methods other than Shin Splints Tape

Whilst shin splints tape application can be beneficial in the healing of medial tibial stress syndrome, most patients have the greatest success in treating their pain when they approach their treatment from more than one angle. Once your sports podiatrist has made a definitive diagnosis and ruled out any other possible causes of your shin pain, an individualized treatment plan can be devised. Treatment for shin splints will not only involve resolving the pain by reducing inflammation, but also identifying and attempting to correct biomechanical problems that are contributing to the problem.

Shin splints tend to respond well to rest, so one of the initial recommendations will likely be to cease, greatly reduce, or modify your training during your treatment phase. Shin splints tape can be used to support the associated muscles, ligaments and tendons through the healing process. Your sports podiatrist may recommend tailored orthotic inserts or particular types or models of footwear to support your foot and lower leg, reducing strain on the shins. You are also likely to be prescribed a stretching regime for your legs and feet, targeting the calf muscles in particular. Massage and myofascial release are also sometimes used in treating cases of shin splints.

Please be advised that the above information regarding medial tibial stress syndrome and shin splints tape is for education purposes only. It is not general medical advice. If you are experiencing symptoms of shin splints, you should make an appointment with a qualified sports podiatrist for a full assessment and correct diagnosis. You can make an appointment online at www.sydneypodiatrist.net.au or by calling 93883322.

Karl Lockett– sports podiatrist.