Taping for shin splints

Materials:

You can use any type of “stretchy” support.  In the following photos and descriptions, the material that I’ve use is called “Powerflex” and it’s made by a company called Andover.  It adheres to itself and does not have any type of “sticky” surface (so no pre-wrap required).

That said, you can also use a sticky tape (but be sure to use pre-wrap so you’re not waxing when you remove it) or an Ace bandage – just be sure to anchor it with tape and not the metal clips (they can fall off/cause cuts and other injuries).

The process:

  • Start with the athlete standing up, partial weight on the affected side.  Slide a roll of tape under their heel to elevate it about 2 inches.  With part of their weight on the toes they will contract the calf.  This prevents the tape from being “too tight” and cutting off circulation after.
    • Begin wrapping the tape from medial to lateral (inside to out) just about the malleoli (the ankle bones on the inside/outside).  Be sure to fully overlap once, and then begin a diagonal up the leg.
    • Continue up the leg.  Pull on the tape somewhat so that there is a moderate stretch (this will compress and anchor the lower leg muscles to the shin, thus decreasing the force on the periosteum).  As you wrap, be sure to overlap the layer below by 1/2 (so each layer is double thick).
    • When you reach the top of the shin, stop at the tibial tuberosity (the bump on the front of the shin just below the knee) and anchor with a full overlap (the same as the start point). Then wrap at a downward angle to anchor.  Tear the tape here.
    • Using sticky, non-stretch tape.  Anchor this piece (so it doesn’t come loose). 
    • Have the athlete move the foot and ankle and check circulation in the foot (make sure there is still pink under the toenails).  The final product should look like the photo below.
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