Can Massage Help Shin Splints?

Shin Splints & I Have A Loooong History!

Hope you guys are doing great and staying safe. Today we’ll be talking about something I’ve personally suffered from for a very long time: shin splints.

My history with shin splints dates back all the way to my early teenage years.

During this time I used to be super active as I was a part of the U15 boys soccer team. Practice twice a week, and a match every week was basically my routine. After each game, I remember being in quite some pain especially in my lower right leg.

I didn’t really do much about it at that time, but there is something that has worked miraculously for me since then, more on this later!

For now, what are shin splints anyways?


What Are Shin Splints & Why Do They Happen?

I like the definition given by Mayo Clinic, basically, what we refer to as shin splints is simply pain/tenderness along the shin bone in the lower leg.

If you’ve never experienced what a shin splint feels like, it’s a little hard to explain. The pain ranges from mild to pretty intense.

The most intense I’ve had is akin to a sharp stabbing pain which almost feels like it’s coming from the bone. Over time the pain subsides, but during the activity, the pain can be debilitating, at least for me it was!

Shin Splints And Soccer!
Shin Splints Were Something I Frequently Experienced During Soccer Games!

So why do shin splints happen anyway? And if we know how they happen, maybe we can take some kinda precaution beforehand?

The reason shin splints happen is because the connective tissue and muscles have been excessively strained due to repetitive use, and as a result are now inflamed. And what happens when muscles get inflamed? Hint: it’s a four letter word starting with “P” and ending with “N”.

If you guessed PAIN, you’d be 100% right!

So if repetitive use is the culprit, does that mean we ought to slow our activity down to let our tissues and muscles recover? There’s definitely some truth to that and slowing down activity will most probably help. However, one can also try other things too.

For example, improperly sized footwear can do all sorts of weird things to you!

I know this firsthand as I’ve used cleats half a size too big, and let me tell you the discomfort is one thing, the pain that comes during intense activity is another! This is why it’s so so important to select footwear that fits you as closely as possible, especially when said footwear will be used to perform intense activity.

Improperly Sized Footwear Can Cause Shin Pain!
Improperly Sized Footwear Can Cause Shin Pain!

Properly sized footwear can definitely help eliminate shin splints, but what about massage, do massages help shin splints or is this just another age old myth?


Do Massages Help Shin Splints?

In one word, YES!

Massage can absolutely help relieving pain caused by shin splints. If you recall what we said earlier in the post that shin splints happen because of the connective tissues and muscles becoming inflamed, massage if properly done can relieveĀ  that pain and inflammation.

Of course the key point to emphasize is proper technique delivered by a trained therapist who knows what they are doing!

Why is this important? For a number of reasons:

#1 We Don’t Want To Make It Worse!—If improper massage is done, it may not only be ineffective, but it could also make the situation worse. For example, if too much intensity is applied, you could end up straining the muscles more and subsequently worsening the pain!
#2 Every Person Is Different!—One type of massage (stroke and intensity) might be effective for one, but another type of massage might be more effective for someone else. Even though the general condition is same, the issue may vary slightly from one to another.

This is why having a customized approach is definitely the best way to deal with the problem. Of course this isn’t possible all the time, because, well paying a massage therapist every week (or even every other week) isn’t cheap! It’s actually quite pricey!

So is there any other way to resolve your shin splints without having to spend $$$ on seeing a trained massage therapist?


Can One Resolve Their Shin Splints By Self Massage?

Self massage has always been a fantastic option for those who don’t wish to spend on paying a massage therapist. The biggest con with this however, is that you’re limited in how much you can do. Your hands are limited in terms of their range of motion, so there are areas you won’t be able to work on.

The shins however are not one of these areas!

So can one self massage themselves to get rid of shin splint pain? Yes it is possible. There’s a few ways to approach this:

#1 Learn Myofascial Release ( And Deep Tissue Techniques) From Your Therapist—This is a great way to continue your treatment without having to continuously visit a therapist. If your therapist is willing to teach you his/her technique, nothing quite like it!
#2 Learn By Watching Video Tutorials On YouTube!—This one’s a little tricky because there’s so many different videos, so you’ll have to take some time to see which one’s are actually worth learning based on what others have reported. Below is a tutorial I really like!

As you can see from the video, she was using a stick roller to help assist her. Investing in a stick roller to me is a no-brainer! It’s such a versatile tool you can literally use it for everything on your body, and yes I mean everything! I’ve seen a video where one person demonstrated how to massage the entire body using just a roller stick!

Another Solid Massage Roller!
Always A Great Idea To Invest In A Roller Stick!

I previously wrote a post on rollers, you can check it out here in case you’re interested in buying one.


One Very Important Thing To Remember!

Before I bid you farewell, there’s one very important thing you should always remember:

Always get medical advice before commencing a massage routine. Obviously this becomes incredibly important for those intending to perform self massage!

What this means is your first action is to speak to your physician and get him/her to provide a diagnosis. Maybe it ends up being that you don’t actually have shin splints, but something else entirely.

You never know until the condition has been diagnosed, and that can only be done by a trained medical professional.

Once you have the green light to massage (and self-massage), then and only then should you commence a routine. If the technique makes things worse, you should desist and stop.

I think this goes without saying, but even so, one should always learn to listen and watch the signs of the body.

Pay Your Doctor A Visit!
Pay Your Doctor A Visit!


I Wish You All The Best!

I know just how much of an annoyance shin splints can be, and now that I’ve grown older, I realize that the best ways to treat shin splints are often the ones that address the root cause rather than popping pain pills. Massage is a fantastic way to achieve this and one that has personally worked wonders for me!

I hope it works for you as well. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you, so definitely drop a comment down below letting me know if massage has provided some relief from your shin splints! All right, that’s all for today. Be safe, be well, and most importantly be happy!

About Eve

Just an average bloke intrigued by massage and its incredible benefits. Oh, did I mention I also own a massage chair? More on that in the blog posts!

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