Learning how to do a posterior shin splint tape wrap is a valuable skill if you run. Running is a great sport for fun, exercise, cardiovascular health, endurance, and proving to yourself that you can set and meet goals, whether you’re doing a “couch to 5K” plan or are a seasoned marathoner. Running is also repetitive, is often done on concrete or asphalt, and can lead to a variety of injuries that will sideline you for weeks or months if they aren’t addressed. One such injury is the painful shin splint injury. “Shin Splints” are caused by inflammation in the connective tissue attaching the two bones of the lower leg to each other and to structures in the knee and ankle. Doing a posterior shin splint tape wrap can support the area and decrease the chances if inflammation occurring.
The physician’s motto for an injured runner is often “Well, if it hurts when you do that, don’t DO that!” This sort of mentality places a motivated would-be athlete right back on the sofa eating cheese puffs and watching cable TV reruns, except THIS time, he has an excuse. What of the guy who just wants to keep himself active, rehabbing an injury the right way while still maintaining his running performance?
One option is to support the area of the injury by doing a posterior shin splint tape wrap. The tape provides additional support for the muscles along the front of the leg, and the extra support decreases the likelihood that the inflammation will get worse. Then you can address the inflammation with ice, massage, or (with physician support) anti-inflammatory medications.
To do a posterior shin splint tape, you will need:
- 1 1/2 inch wide athletic tape with some stretch in it and preferably one that tears easily – fancy colors are nice but not necessary.
- Scissors, if needed.
- Underlay foam if your legs are hairy. Pick a tape with some stretch in it and preferably one that tears easily – fancy colors are nice but not necessary. This taping method won’t constrict your calf muscle and lead to cramping, and it will still provide good support for a shin splint injury.
- Locate the painful area on your shin and place a small piece of tape over the area to mark the location. Tear a strip of athletic tape twelve to fourteen inches long and fold it in half lengthwise. Tear or cut the tape along the full length of your piece except for the last 1 ½ to 2 inches.
- Remove the backing from that uncut section and stick it down to your leg below the point of pain by an inch or two. Use the heat from your hand to warm up the tape, ensuring good skin adhesion. Then, make a “Y” around the painful spot, bending each section of the divided tape to go around the pain area and then continuing straight up your leg.
- Now add a second tape strip at ninety degrees to the first, over the top of it. Cut or tear a piece of tape about eight inches long, fold it in half lengthwise, and cut or tear it down the middle, leaving a 1 ½-2 inch section at the end as you did before. Stick that section to the skin at the back of your leg, making sure it is well adhered, and make another “Y” around the painful spot by bending the tape sections and continuing around your leg. Make this section of tape shorter if it goes all the way around to avoid constriction.
You should have tape forming a square around your painful spot now, but not over it. The tape should not encircle your entire leg and should feel supportive but not tight. This completed posterior shin splint tape wrap can last up to five days.
Remember to see a physician if your injury doesn’t improve within a couple of weeks with the posterior shin splint tape wrap, since shin splints can feel similar to a stress fracture. Happy running!