How to Massage Shins Splints?



Table of Contents

  • 1. What are Shin Splints?
    • 1.1. Common symptoms
    • 1.2. Causes
  • 2. What are the Best Ways to Massage/Relieve Shin Splints
    • 2.1. Benefits of Massaging Shins
  • 3. Massage Techniques for shins
    • 3.1. Ice Massage
    • 3.2. Deep Tissue Massage
    • 3.3. Swedish Massage
    • 3.4. Trigger Point Massage
    • 3.5. Myofascial Release Massage
  • 4. Shin Massage Tools
    • 4.1. Massage Guns
    • 4.2. Massage Ball
    • 4.3. Foam Roller
  • 5. Avoid Shin Massage When/If
  • 6. The Right Time to Start Training Again

1. What are Shin Splints?

Shin splints, also known as MTSS (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome), are common in beginners who have just started running and low mileage runners. You can also experience shin splints even if you are an athlete. It usually occurs when you put too much stress on the lower leg and the connective tissues become torn or too weak, causing inflammation and irritation in the tibia bone and the periosteum.

The most common symptom of shin pain is pain in the lower leg which can get worse after a workout or running exercise.

What are Shin Splints?

Shin splints heal within a few days but if they do not, you might have a serious condition that needs to get proper treatment.

1.1. Common symptoms:

  • Pain in you shin
  • Discomfort during running or any other activity
  • Tenderness on the outside of your shin bone
  • Pain in the inner part of your leg
  • Swelling in the lower leg
  • Drop foot

1.2. Causes:

  • Starting a new running routine
  • Running on hills
  • Increased intensity training
  • Not wearing supportive shoes
  • Running with poor form

2. What are the Best Ways to Massage/Relieve Shin Splints

Shin splints are commonly associated with the deeper muscles in the lower leg. There are various ways to treat shin splints. For example, stretching, strengthening shins, home and natural remedies, massage therapy, icing, etc.

2.1. Benefits of Massaging Shins

  • Massaging your shins is the safest and the most effective way to relieve shin pain.
  • A massage is one of the most convenient ways to relieve muscle knots, tight calf muscles, and improve flexibility.
  • It also improves blood circulation and speeds up the healing process.

Benefits of Massaging Shins

3. Massage Techniques for shins

There are many types of massage techniques and each has its own place for treating both anterior and posterior shin splints. Anterior is the front of your leg and posterior is the back of your leg. A massage can be quite effective for the treatment of shins, since it increases the adaptability of the muscles in the lower leg and lower back. It is critical, however, that the therapist stays away from the inflammation along the tibia bone, which can be extremely painful. A frequent complaint with shin pain is that it goes away for a period of time before returning once you resume being active. This is often due to tight or unhealthy calf muscles, which are common in people with shin splints. A massage is an extremely effective method of reducing stress in the muscles and removing any tight knots that have formed. For the best possible results from your massage, a variety of strokes and methods will be chosen, including stroking, massaging, compression friction, gliding, stretching, and the manipulation of trigger points.

3.1. Ice Massage

  • Start by putting an ice pack covered in cloth onto your foot all the way up to on the tibialis anterior (front) muscle.
  • Massage the muscle with moderate pressure.
  • Make long strokes toward your knee in circular motions
  • Now, again with the ankle and all the way up to the knee.
  • Massage for 15 to 20 minutes
  • Repeat twice a day for an effective outcome.

3.2. Deep Tissue Massage

  • Apply light strokes to cover as much of the front surface as possible
  • Strip the muscles of the deep posterior compartment
  • Put moderate pressure along the tendon bone
  • Apply cross friction technique if you feel any bumps around the shin muscles
  • Gently massage the tibialis anterior tendon with your thumbs

3.3. Swedish Massage

  • The Swedish massage includes essential massage oils.
  • The massage therapist appies smooth pressure on the targeted area by kneading, rubbing, stretching, and taping.
  • It helps your muscles relieve tension and increase relaxation.

3.4. Trigger Point Massage

  • A trigger point massage is a technique that uses pressure to release tension in trigger points throughout the body.
  • Identifying a specific trigger point responsible for your pain might be challenging. Thus, consult a massage therapist.
  • Your massage therapist will identify and apply pressure to the trigger points around your shin muscles.

3.5. Myofascial Release Massage

Myofascia is the term used to describe the part of the connective tissue system that divides and contains each and every muscle in the body.

  • If you are interested in trying myofascial release massage, consult with your doctor or physical therapist first.
  • Your therapist will gently put pressure on your stiff and tight areas to locate the painful areas.
  • The therapist will start massaging and stretching the sore areas.
  • The therapist then helps in the release of pressure and tightness in the tissue and supporting membranes.
  • The therapist repeats the treatment on the trigger points until the stiffness is gone entirety.

It is not always possible to go see a therapist, so let’s look at the massage tools you can use at home that are easily available.

Myofascial Release Massage

4. Shin Massage Tools

4.1. Massage Guns

  • Massage guns are extremely popular among those who practice in home health and healing.
  • Gently start by massaging your foot and heel.
  • Move all the way up to the posterior (inner) muscles and anterior (front) muscles of the lower leg.
  • Massage the tender areas gently for one minute.

4.2. Massage Ball

  • Sit on the ground
  • Massage the calf muscle in a circular motion
  • Avoid rolling the ball directly on the bone.
  • Focus on the tight and tender muscles.
  • Roll each side for one to two minutes.

4.3. Foam Roller

  • Sit down on the floor
  • Apply pressure to your Achilles tendon using a foam roller or roller stick.
  • Move the roller up and down, pressing the roller deep against the tissue as you go.
  • Move and press deeply on the lateral (outside) bone.
  • Massage for 20 to 25 minutes at least twice a day.

5. Avoid Shin Massage When/If

The Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies’ Sports Massage continuing education programm instructor, James Mally, N.D. says,

“The best ways to avoid shin splints are to warm up properly, stretch, run on smooth ground as much as possible, avoid major changes in training, and apply ice at the first sign of pain. If there is insufficient arch support, orthotics may be required.”

A massage can be used to relieve almost any type of shin pain. But if the condition is chronic and your shin splints are getting worse day by day, you must consult a doctor and temporarily stop any further activity.

6. The Right Time to Start Training Again

Shin splints normally go away somewhere between a few days or a maximum of two weeks. When you feel that your shins are healed completely and you are not feeling any kind of pain in your lower leg, it means that you are ready to start. But start slowly and don’t forget to warm up.

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