Shin Splints & Massage

Massage as an effective treatment for Shin Splints: Shin splints treatment is 90% about “rest” (load management). PLUS, Progressive rehab is a sound principle —physical therapy, is also part of all injury. recovery.

Massage treatment can reduce pain and swelling and encourage greater flexibility and circulation to the lower leg area.


What are Shin Splints?

Pain is caused by overuse along the shinbone, the large front bone in the lower leg.
Shin splints result when muscles, tendons, and bone tissue become overworked. Shin splints often occur in athletes who recently intensified or changed their training routines.
The main symptom is pain in the leg.
Treatment includes rest, ice, and pain relievers.

The shin bone (or tibia) runs along the front of the lower leg. Shin splints are the common name for the medical condition called medial tibial stress syndrome, in which pain occurs along the tibia. This pain is the result of small tears and inflammation in the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around your shin.

Usually, shin splints are caused by intense or more vigorous than usual athletic activity. Some common symptoms include:

  • Aching or dull pain down the front of one or both legs
  • Shins that are painful to the touch
  • Pain that worsens during or after exercise
  • Pain that improves with rest

Diagnosis of Shin Splints

How do you test for a shin stress fracture?
A “one leg hop test” can be used to distinguish between medial tibial stress syndrome and tibial stress fractures. Patients with stress injuries can tolerate repeated jumping whereas stress fractures cannot hop without pain. Of note, the landing is typically when the patient notices the pain.

Your healthcare provider will conduct a physical exam, asking you about your symptoms as well as your activity level leading up to the injury. Your doctor may also take an x-ray or perform other tests to check for a more serious injury, such as a stress fracture or tendonitis. Tendonitis is when a tendon is inflamed. It can happen to any tendon in the body. When a tendon is inflamed, it can cause swelling, pain, and discomfort. Another problem called tenosynovitis is linked to tendonitis. This is the inflammation of the lining of the tendon sheath around a tendon.

In the case of shin splits, the usual structural suspects are:

  • excessive pronation
  • varus hindfoot
  • a high Q-angle, AKA genu valgum, AKA knock-kneed
  • excessive femoral anteversion
  • external tibial torsion
  • high vertical loading rate
How do you know if you have a hairline fracture in your shin?
The most common symptom of a hairline fracture is pain. This pain can gradually get worse over time, especially if you don’t stop weight-bearing activity. Pain is usually worse during activity and lessens during rest.
How serious are shin splints?
If left untreated, shin splints and stress reaction can progress ultimately to a stress fracture, which is when the bone can no longer handle the load being placed on it and it cracks. A fracture means broken bone, so a stress fracture is truly a type of broken bone.
What is the main treatment for tendonitis?
Most tendonitis can be treated with rest, physical therapy, and medicine to reduce pain. Long-lasting tendon inflammation can cause a tendon to tear. A torn tendon might need surgery.
What are the 3 common symptoms of tendonitis?
  • pain and tenderness in the affected tendon, which is often worse when you move it.
  • swelling.
  • a grating sensation as the tendon moves.
  • a lump on the tendon.
  • weakness in the affected area.
  • decreased range of motion.
What is the fastest way to get rid of tendonitis?
Rest: try to avoid moving the tendon for 2 to 3 days. Ice: put an ice pack (or try a bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a tea towel on the tendon for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours. Support: wrap an elastic bandage around the area, use a tube bandage, or use a soft brace. You can buy these from pharmacies.
What is the longest shin splints can last?
While most minor shin splints will clear up in two to three weeks with rest, a severe shin splint can take anywhere from three to six months of proper treatment to totally heal.
Does drinking more water help shin splints?
By drinking plenty of water and stretching, you can greatly reduce the risk of connective tissue problems. In addition, adding a strength training routine for your lower legs braces them for continued activity and will strengthen the connective tissues that can cause shin splints.
How should I sleep to heal shin splints?
 If you sleep on your side, you should try placing a pillow between your knees and shins, so there is no direct pressure on your shin bones. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees and if you sleep on your front, place a pillow under your ankles.

Is it tendonitis?

Chronic tendonitis is a dull but constant soreness that feels worse when you first start to move. It then eases up as muscles get warmer.

Acute tendonitis is a sharper pain that may keep you from moving the joint. The pain may eventually go away. But it’s likely to return if the stressful motion is repeated.




















Massage Therapy for Shin Splints

Massage can help some of the largest causes of shin splints like tight calf muscles. By placing increased stress on the lower leg and bones, tight calf muscles should be treated to prevent shin splints. Also, the constant pounding of running or other activities causes inflammation in the connective tissues that attach the shin bone to the muscles.

Massage will work on these connective tissue spots where adhesions have formed. Through different massage techniques, a trained massage therapist or you will be able to release tightness and increase blood flow to the area. All of which will help improve healing time.

Massage Techniques for Shin Splints

There are many kinds of massage therapy and each type has its place in treating both anterior and medial shin splints. Anterior shin splints are on the front of the shin bone where the tibialis anterior muscle is located. This muscle works to lift and lower your foot.

The second kind of shin splint, the posterior or medial shin splint, is near the tibialis posterior muscle. This muscle works on the medial side of your foot as you walk or run. If this muscle is weakened your foot will overpronate causing stress on the bone. With the medial shin splint, pain is felt on the side of your shin bone.

Learn More About Massage Techniques, Tips & Tools Here

Deep Tissue Massage

During a deep tissue massage, the therapist presses deep into the soft tissue to release muscle knots. These knots are not necessarily located near your shin splint. Some people find the deep pressure to be uncomfortable. Let your massage therapist know if the pressure becomes too much, you should not experience pain.

Myofascial Release

A myofascial release massage aims to find tight areas in the muscle fascia, the tissue that surrounds muscles. Tight areas will feel stiff and through muscle stretching and massaging you’ll release tension and tightness, providing deep pain relief, and preventing the buildup of scar tissue.

Use a muscle roller stick or massage roller ball at home to self-massage your muscles and achieve the full myofascial release experience that you would get in a massage therapy office.

Trigger Point Massage

Trigger point massage uses pressure to relieve tension within the trigger points in the body. It can be difficult to find a single trigger point that is causing pain, so a massage therapist will apply pressure to multiple spots to help you find relief. A massage cane allows users to target trigger points in hard-to-reach areas on the leg.

Sports Massage

This form of massage focuses on areas of the body that suffer from overuse injury and stress. The massage therapist will target muscle-tendon junctions, increasing flexibility to lessen the risk of injury. Sports massage can be especially effective when used in combination with stretches and exercise for shin splints.

TENS Therapy

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) uses low-voltage electrical currents that pass through adhesive patches placed on the skin over the area that is experiencing pain. The electrical impulse interrupts the nerve pathway, reducing pain. Pain relief is temporary but typically successful and aids in reducing medication use. TENS therapy can be applied by a chriopractic or physical therapy professional or small, at-home units can be purchased for personal use

Cold Massage

The cold causes vasoconstriction, the tightening up of blood vessels, reducing blood flow. It is best done on a recent injury. Tightened blood vessels cause less inflammation and muscle spasms. Cold also reduces pain by disrupting the nerve signal. Cold massage ball rollers are designed to apply ice massage at home or work.

You can usually help ease the pain of shin splints with adequate rest, stretching, over-the-counter pain medicines, and by modifying your exercise routine. If the pain does not decrease after taking these measures, however, PRO Massage can help create a plan for managing and preventing shin splints that include physical therapy.

Is hot or cold compress better for shin splints?
When dealing with this injury, ice, and cold therapy is the only way to go! While heat can exacerbate inflammation, icing your shins several times a day can help noticeably reduce pain and swelling. If you are following the RICE method and stretching regularly, shin splint pain may go away on its own.
Does Biofreeze work for shin splints?
Indications – Biofreeze is used in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, complex regional pain syndromes, arthritis of the foot and ankle, stress fractures, shin splints, heel pain, heel spur syndrome, arch pain, forefoot pain, plantar fasciitis, and post-injuries including the ankle.
Is Icy Hot good for shin splints?
When it comes to shin splints, nothing beats ice and cold therapy! While heat can aggravate inflammation, icing your shins several times a day can significantly reduce pain and swelling.
Does KT tape work for shin splints?
In fact, a study published in 2018 in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that when 40 participants with symptoms of shin splints wore KT tape (a.k.a. kinesio tape) for just a week, they experienced less pain and showed improvement in functional activity compared to those who used shoe insoles.
How do you know if you have shin splints?
If you have shin splints, you might notice tenderness, soreness, or pain along the inner side of your shinbone and mild swelling in your lower leg. At first, the pain might stop when you stop exercising. Eventually, however, the pain can be continuous and might progress to a stress reaction or stress fracture.
What triggers shin splints?
In general, shin splints develop when the muscle and bone tissue (periosteum) in the leg become overworked by repetitive activity. Shin splints often occur after sudden changes in physical activity. These can be changes in frequency, such as increasing the number of days you exercise each week.
How do you make shin splints feel better fast?
Rest from all activities that cause you pain, swelling, or discomfort. Active rest is usually fine for shin splints, but you should see a doctor if you think you have a more serious injury. Try low-impact activities like swimming until your pain subsides. Ice.
Can flat shoes cause shin splints?
The most common cause of shin splints is inflammation of the periosteum of the tibia (sheath surrounding the bones). Some other common causes include flat feet (overpronation), a high arch (under pronation), inadequate footwear, running on hard surfaces, and increasing training too quickly
How can you tell the difference between shin splints and pain?
With a stress fracture, the pain gets worse as you run and persists in a smaller location after you run, Dr. Goldberg says. With shin splints, pain often occurs over a broad area, although it may be localized, affecting a small area. The pain usually lessens after you warm up.
What vitamin deficiency causes shin splints?

Some examples of quality NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen. According to research, one of the factors in shin splints is vitamin D deficiency. So, taking vitamin D supplements may help prevent the pain from recurring.
How long do shin splints take to heal?
Most people who have shin splints recover after taking time off from sports and activities. Shin splints often go away once your legs have had time to heal, usually in three to four weeks. Most people can resume an exercise program after their legs have healed.
What can be misdiagnosed as shin splints?
7 causes of shin pain or aching of the shin bone. People may typically associate shin pain with shin splints. However, other issues can also cause shin pain, such as a minor injury, a fracture, or a bone bruise. or a problem with bone growth, such as a tumor.
Does dehydration cause shin splints?
Other factors that contribute to shin splints can include dehydration, malnutrition, and even exhaustion.
Do compression socks help with shin splints?
Compression socks can ease the pressure of swelling and control fluid from accumulating further. Decrease pain — While compression socks can help reduce swelling and inflammation related to shin splints, they can also reduce related feelings of stiffness and tenderness.
When should I go to the doctor for shin splints?
You should talk to a doctor about your shin splints if: The pain from the shin splints continues even after you ice, rest, and take pain relievers. You think the pain is from something that isn’t shin splints. The swelling is not going down.
Is it OK to push through shin splints?
Technically, you CAN… but you probably shouldn’t. For many runners who try to continue running with shin splints, the best-case scenario is that they prolong the injury as they’re not giving the injured tissue an opportunity to heal.
What are the 3 signs and symptoms of a tibial stress fracture?
  • pain and tenderness in just one specific area of the leg.
  • worsening pain that develops over a period of weeks to months.
  • pain increases with impact activity (running or jumping)
Should I wrap my shin if I have shin splints?
Not so well known: kinesiology tape can make them hurt a little less. A study of people with shin splints that was published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, found that those who wore the tape for just a week experienced less pain than those who used shoe insoles.
Should you elevate your legs with shin splints?
While your leg is elevated, gravity allows for any swelling in your leg to decrease, and move out of the area. A decrease in swelling can also help to decrease the pain
Do shin splints hurt resting?

Your shins may hurt when you’re active. They can also hurt when you are inactive shortly after completing the activity. The pain may be worse with pressure or exercise. It may improve with rest and at-home treatment.
What foods should you avoid with shin splints?
Minimize pro-inflammatory foods – things like gluten, added sugars, and processed foods – and incorporate foods with anti-inflammatory properties, including vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
What foods heal shin splints?

“Nutrition-wise, the goal is to lower inflammation. This means including foods that help reduce inflammation such as foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like wild Alaskan salmon, walnuts, and chia seeds.
Do shin splints show up on X-ray?
X-rays are not useful, since shin splints do not show up in them. An X-ray would only be indicated if a stress fracture needed to be excluded. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish a shin splint from a stress fracture on an X-ray. In these cases, a bone scan or an MRI scan can help to achieve this.
How do you stretch shin splints?
Shin muscle stretch
  1. Sit in a chair, with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Bend your affected leg behind you so that the top of your foot near your toes is flat on the floor and your toes are pointed away from your body. …
  3. Hold the stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds. …
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
more info at:






Therapeutic Deep Tissue, Swedish Massage, Sports Injury Massage Therapy in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca.


*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.