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shin splints


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I know there has been a lot written on this topic, but I wanted to pass along some information I read (could have been on this Board), and an application of tape that really does work. According to everything I have been reading, shin splints are actually a separation of muscle and bone. To counteract this, tape your leg in the area of the pain. This will give the leg added support. So I tried this, using the 3m microfoam tape to help give my leg support, but the 3m microfoam tape has some elasticity so that my leg could still move! And low and behold, it worked. My leg has felt much better since starting this procedure. I know the best scenario is to actually rest the leg, but my schedule isn't really allowing to that right now. :wink: So in addition to the ice and ibprofuen (sp?), I am trying this taping, and so far, it has been very beneficial. :angry:

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I'm glad that this board has been useful to you in combating this nagging problem. It's what we're here for. :angry: Ms. Leigh also has a neat criss-cross bandage plan that works very well, too. It's a sort of update on the old "nine-tailed bandage" that was literally woven around the calf to act as a kind of pressure dressing. The difference here is that the bandages are adhesive, and don't need to be wrapped all about the lower leg. Try to get as much rest as you can, though, and keep up the cold applications!

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Thanks for the response! Is there somewhere to view the criss-cross application of tape?

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Dancepig, try as I might, I couldn't find a view of the method Ms. Leigh suggests, but I know from experience that it works. Here's an oldie but a goodie thread on shin splints:




If you scroll down, you'll find Ms. Leigh's explanation of how to do it. I use a slightly more complex method of narrower tape and a sort of tight-weave pattern when I have shin splints from marching. It's not unlike support taping for horses who are recovering from sore forelegs.

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Thank you for the link! I will try the x crossing of the tape instead of wrapping it around my leg. This will also help get rid of the Michelin Man look on my leg! I have been getting some strange looks, but then again, that's nothing new. :o

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I would be afraid that others might take this as medical advice.


For instance, there is more than one reason for pain in the shins. Other than separation of the bone and muscle, other causes for "shin splints" involve:

1. Stress fractures in the bones

2. General sorness of the muscles in the shins


If your problem is (2), then some simple relaxation and stretching of the shins is in order. If your problem is (1) then no amount of stretching or taping will be of benefit --- the bone needs to heal.


I also remain unconvinced that in the case described above, the taping is actually helping in a medical way. Sure it's causing reduced pain. But is it allowing the body to heal the way it should? Maybe, maybe not... I'm not in a position to judge.


My point is that self-diagnosis and self-prescription of treatment is medically dangerous.

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Guest mic31

When I had shin splints I went to a massage therapist for about 5 visits and I also stopped doing all jumps for about 4 weeks. Doing all of this helped, I wish that I knew about the taping though

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This IS really medical advice. Only it's first aid. The basic R.I.C.E. can be run out to a fuller form with P.R.I.C.E.S or R.I.C.E.D. That's Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate, and Support for the former and just substitute "Doctor" for "Support" for the latter. If first aid does not alleviate the condition in 72 hours, then head for the doc, unless it's obvious that there is immediate professional support required. A shin bending at a 45º angle would be an excellent reason to call in the pros. Many shin complaints have nothing to do with bones OR muscles as a primary etiology. To name only one, there's compartmentalization, which stems from vasoconstriction in the blood vessels in the lower leg. That's a real pain, and often requires prescription medication to relieve.

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All of your are correct, and all of this advice should be taken with an eye to ongoing pain and problems. I exercise at a gym and have a personal trainer on an on/off basis (these trainers are WAY too expensive for an ongoing, full-time relationship!). The problems in my leg all started with me accidently stabbing myself in the ankle. I wrote about this problem back in April/May. Anyway, it is the opinion of several at the gym, that because my ankle was compromised and because I chose to not give the ankle enough time to fully recuperate, other parts of my leg (the shin and knee are two of these parts) became injured in trying to compensate for the ankle injury. You would think I would have learned something from all of this, but of course - no. Well, part of the problem was my studio putting on it's annual production just at this time. Fortunately, for my leg, I am not a martyr, and do not like pain, so it's not serious, just aggravating. Now, just as Mel and others have so eloquently put it, if the R.I.C.E doesn't help the problem, you'd better get R.I.C.E.D., or you'll be paying the P.R.I.C.E!

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Superb bon mot! A great way to start the day! :)


I trust that you're able to get sufficient followup support now to do away with the irritating residual effects of the injury. Obviously, it hasn't affected your wit and good humor!

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The football player’s rule—all injuries can be healed instantly by tape. If it hurts, tape it up and it will be fine. A football culture thing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, time for an update, which some of you might find useful. I finally went to a doctor, yep, had to do it. So I drove 80 miles out of my way to go see a "good" doctor for injury. After spending over an hour with both the Dr. and the NP, it was determined that when I accidently stabbed my ankle with a paring knife, I nicked my tendon and this has caused a snowballing effect of problems with this leg. The final outcome was "have you ever heard of shin splints?". The good news is that supposedly after 6 or 7 treatments of ultrasound by the PT, this problem should be resolved. The bad news is that I can't get an appointment with the PT for at least another week! Fortunately for me, the NP is a dancer, who understand why I can't just take several weeks off from dancing (I'm too old to take that much time off and expect to just "jump back in"). So, this Dr. suggested that I wrap my ankle in an ace bandage - he recommended the kind that sticks to itself. And to apply heat, not ice (more later) to the leg at night. The ace bandage is supposed to give my ankle more support so that it doesn't roll when I'm jumping up and down on it (mostly in step-class). The rolling is what caused the muscle between the knee and the ankle to work incorrectly, thus causing the shin splints. This Dr. said the knee and the ankle work in tandem and basically this part of my knee was trying to compensate for the problem in the tendon at the ankle. I was suprised about the heat, but he said that is essentially what ultrasound is, it is deep heat massage. He said I should apply ice directly after jumping up and down for an extended period of time, but in the evening use the heat. I'm just glad they don't have to amputate the leg, and that I don't have to worry about it just snapping off, because that is about where I was at before I went to the Dr., now if I can only get to the PT!

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OK! :devil: That's a definitive word from the pros!


I can understand why the heat is used - you are so far away from the acute stage of the injury, that the heat acts as both a palliative (pain reliever) and therapy. Good thing you had an NP there to give professional input from both sides!!! I'm glad you got care for it, and that it's ONLY a week before you can get to the PT!

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