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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Favorite remedy for shin splints?


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I heard of a new way to treat shin splints. Please post if you think anything is harmful about this, but I love it, because it makes my shin splints not hurt while I warm up with stage class (we have a performance this weekend so I can't rest yet!). First put Icy Hot on shins, then wrap calves with saran wrap/plastic wrap, then cover with tights & legwarmers. The plastic wrap is great because it makes the Icy Hot heat up more than it normally does with just tights & legwarmers.


I also ice/apply heat/take ibuprofen for my shin splints. I know to warm up, (roll my ankles and such) before dancing. Anything else to do for them? I got them after going to 2 auditions in one weekend. I got pretty sick that weekend too. Dancing on different floors and not enough sleep takes a toll. :cool2:

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I personally never tried it, but when I ran competitively, some of the girls on the team would do similar things. I went though bout after bout of shin splints and to be honest, the only thing that woul relieve them would be rest. It's the same case now with my dancing, running, walking on campus, and walking all 18 holes on the golf course.


I now make sure to do a lot of calf stretches, ice as needed, and use compression wraps when necessary. The big downside of shin splints is that they can act as a mask to other leg problems sometimes. I learned the heard way. But that's a story for another time.

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That's an old way, and not a good way. Eventually, the people who use it notice that the skin on their lower legs starts to blister and otherwise break down. It's dangerous and only provides transitory relief. It's not a cure for shin-splints and may even allow you to reinjure the area. Anb is right. The only cure for shin-splints is rest.

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Icy Hot +Plastic wrap is not an approved treatment for any injury including shin splints. It's an invitation for a severe burn or allergic reaction. The plastic wrap is made from chemicals. Icy Hot is made from chemical ingredients. Mix the two and you're poor skin takes the brunt of the chemical reaction. There are many different manufacturers of plastic wrap and topical creams and all are made differently so will react differently. And if you have sensitive skin, double yikes.


Why risk severe harm for an unproven treatment? Not wise for any dancer to consider. :cool2:

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Thanks for the info. Those are some serious concerns that I didn't know about. I have not had any of the mentioned side effects, thank goodness. I am not using this as a long term means of managing shin splints, just trying to get through this performance, which is over now, and now I can rest & recover.

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About treating shin splints -- I've got a persistent case of shin splints on my left leg, and have been treating them with icing and NSAID gel and keeping the calf stretched, which have all seemed to help some but not quite enough.


Now I just got back from an appointment with an orthopedic doctor specializing in sports injuries. He prescribed several sessions of sports massage for it -- said that it will hurt quite a lot (!) but it will help heal it. Let's see how it goes after the first sessions with the PT :P

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The conventional wisdom for treating shin splints is to strengthen the muscles in the shin and stretch the muscles in the calf. If the case is minor, usually you will get better without doing anything special. If shin splints persist for more than about 20 days, the chance of some type of fracture is much higher (meaning you had better trot off to the doctor for a diagnosis).


A good preventative or treatment exercise is the usual flex and point type exercise many dancers do routinely.

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Guest BalletBrat

Sanna, I had deep tissue massage as part of my shin splint treatment, and yes, it was uncomfortable, especially when she pressed her thumb between the two heads of the gastronemius, YIKES! I also had some eletric therapy done, which I still think was the most amazing "miracle" cure. My shin splints were best dealt with by combining several therapies: massage, electrodes, icing, and oral antiinflammatories. I did not rest though :yes: , as it was not possible at the time, and now I am having troubles again. I did go for about two years without any pain, however, the throbbing is back again, and now seems to encompass a larger area of my lower leg. I think this year I will definatly add rest to the therapeutic laundry list.

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BalletBrat, you're probably right about the importance of rest :yes: it's hard to give things enough time to heal properly, but oh so necessary...


(When I first started folkdance, I remember we were most of us plagued with shin splints -- Finnish folkdance and some energetic French-style galliard, not a good combination. We used to treat them with as much massage as the sufferer could stand, and icing after... the massage was too painful to do yourself. It has left me a sincere dislike of having the shin massaged at all, much less when it's already sore -- but it did cure the ailment for a few years at least.)

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Shin splints can be very painful, but here is one suggestion to try that my dd had a lot of success with, when she had a very short bout with shin splints. She was told to not only ice the area ... but to actually after a workout to take the actual ice 'cube' and rub it along the area in a massage type of application. It melted as she did it, but by taking the ice directly on the skin and moving it back and forth it worked great! SHe also took some Motrin, and within a few days she was back in business. Maybe because your splints happened simply because of over work on a particular weekend and it was more of an acute problem rather than a persistant problem, it may work great. That was dd's experience as well! Good luck!

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I've had bad shin splints from running up and down concrete aisles in a theatre in the round- Arnica gel always helped the pain for me.

Good luck and I hope you feel better!

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