Massaging Shin Splints – Does it Work to Calm Pain?

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Are you having terrible pain just behind the large bone in your lower leg? That condition is known as shin splints. This can happen for a variety of reasons and may get better when you stop doing strenuous exercise. For me, it’s always been running (which I love, but…).

Most of the time, the pain is intermittent, but it can be continuous. To help with pain,many turn to massaging shin splints

Does massage help with shin splints? How do you massage your shin splint? In this article, I’ll answer all of those questions so you can decide if you want to work massage into your routine. 


Does Massaging Shin Splints Help With Pain?

Serious exercise and solid workouts are great for the body and the mind. However, there are times when an intense leg day workout or long run leads you to develop shin splints.

Ouch!

Shin splints can cause pain in your lower leg.

To help reduce the pain, there are a few different things that you can do. These include prescription medication, ice application, rest and recovery, and massage.

Orthopedic doctors could prescribe medication to help with the shin splint pain. This generally works, but there are some… obvious downsides. We all know that prescrption pain relievers can be dangerous.. However, another way to help deal with it is to do a massage on the area. 

One of the reasons why you can get a shin splint is because you’ve overused the tibia. With all the tugging and pulling that you do through your workout, you can irritate the muscles and cause them to swell, which eventually leads to pain. 

Resting usually helps plus the use of ice packs as well. However, if you simply ignore them, then there could be a risk of increased pain or chronic pain. 

Massage can be used to help manage the pain. Most of the time, shin splints can cause stiff calf muscles and knots in the connective tissues. 

When you do a deep massage, you’ll stretch the muscles, which will ease that tightness and tension. Eventually, this will relieve pain.

When you do a deep massage, you’ll stretch the muscles, which will ease that tightness and tension. Eventually, this will relieve pain.


Should You Massage Shin Splints?

Now that you know that massage can help with the pain associated with shin splits, it does not mean that you should immediately get it. With any treatment, whether it be a massage or other methods, it is crucial to consider the contraindications. 

Contraindications mean that the message may not be best for your case. Furthermore, for some people, it could cause more harm to them if it is done.

A few contraindications would include the following:

Periostitis

This is a condition where a layer of connective tissue called the periosteum gets inflamed. This condition can cause pain in the lower leg area and could be mistaken for shin splints. When doing a massage, it is best to avoid the bone area.

Muscle Strain

Although a massage can help with muscle strain, it shouldn’t be done right after experiencing the injury. Massage will help relax the muscle so that the strained muscle doesn’t feel painful. 

However, this should only be done after at least 48 hours of getting the muscle strain injury. That’s because massaging too soon can increase bleeding and make the muscle strain worse. 

Deep Vein Thrombosis 

This is a condition where there is a blood clot in the vein of the leg. This could feel pain as well and can be formed due to inactivity

There is a risk of forming this for those who have a history of blood clot disorder, those who smoke, those who are obese, and those who have varicose veins.

A deep massage is not advisable for those who currently have a blood clot. That’s because it can dislodge the clot and have it moved elsewhere where it can cause more dangerous effects. 


How Does Massage Help Shin Splints?

A massage can help with shin splints by specifically targeting that area. The massage can help correct the stiff calf muscles or the knots that were formed. 

The high pressure placed on the calf area during the massage could help loosen up the tightness of the muscle there. 

The massage can work on the connective tissues where there could be adhesions that were formed. With the different massage techniques used by your therapist, a massage can release the tightness in the area. 

Furthermore, it could increase the blood flow to help with a faster healing time. 


Techniques In Massaging Shin Splints

Different kinds of massage therapy could be used to help with shin splints and they are as follows:

1. Deep Tissue Massage

This type of intense massage helps release the muscle knots. Deep tissue massage can be uncomfortable for those who are not used to it. However, you should keep communication clear with your massage therapist and tell them when the pressure is too much for you.

Also, note that there can be some strange post-massage feelings, like anxiety and even sickness.

2. Myofascial Release

This massage is aimed at the tight areas in the muscle fascia. These areas feel stiff and this massage will help stretch them to release the tightness and tension for pain relief. 

3. Trigger Point Massage

This type of massage uses trigger points. Finding a single trigger point to help with the pain is difficult so the massage therapist will usually put pressure on several spots until you find the relief. 

4. Sports Massage

With this type of massage, the therapist will usually focus on the muscle-tendon junctions. The goal here is to increase flexibility to help decrease the risk of injury.


How To Massage A Shin Splint At Home

Although it would be best to go to a massage therapist, that isn’t always possible or preferred by some people. Home self-massage can be a good alternative and here are ways to do it.

1. Use a Foam Roller

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Last update on 2024-02-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One of the easiest ways to massage your shin split is to use a foam roller or a roller stick . You simply have to roll it under your Achilles tendon in an up-and-down motion. 

2. Use a Ball

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Last update on 2024-02-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another way is to use a ball  preferably a stiff one. You simply press this ball into your calf muscle. However, avoid pressing the ball into your bone.