Kinesiology Tape: Shin Splints - Anterior

Learn about shin splints taping. The shin is the common name for the front of the lower leg bone (tibia) and its associated muscles and tendons. Muscles on the front of the leg (primarily the anterior tibialis) serve to point the toes and foot upwards (dorsiflexion). First, let’s make a distinction between anterior shin splints and posterior shin splints. Anterior shin splints exist on the front of the leg. Posterior shin splints present pain along the inside edge of the lower leg.

Anterior shin splints can be identified by pain when the foot is bent upwards. They are typically brought on by new activity such as running, court sports, or other sports that require frequent stopping and starting. The problem is most common when these activities are performed on hard surfaces. Poor shoes, running downhill or on the balls of the feet, or overactive calves (muscle imbalance) can greatly increase the chances of developing anterior shin splints. Many times the shin splints arise from pain in the muscle due to overuse, but often the pain can be due to stress fractures in the bone. This is often seen in those who "tough it out" and continue the painful activity without allowing for sufficient recovery.

Treatment always entails rest and avoiding the activity that caused the pain. Shin splints start out as a minor annoyance, but can become debilitating if not allowed to heal in the early stages. Ice and anti-inflammatories will help reduce the pain and inflammation, but should not be used to continue the painful activity. Correcting poor running form, fitting for appropriate shoes, and stretching before and after activity will aid prevention.

KT Tape provides an excellent means of helping the muscles to relax and facilitate the healing process, as well as helping to reduce inflammation. As with any overuse injury, use the tape in conjunction with rest to promote the healing process and see reduced recovery times.