Shin Splints Massage

Calf strain treatment massage

Sports massage can help with the treatment and rehabilitation of shin splints type pain. Here we demonstrate simple techniques a professional therapist might use as well as self-massage techniques.

Massage contraindications

Before beginning, and massage treatment it is important to check for contraindications. A contraindication is something that means massage might not be not suitable, or may even be harmful.

Most relevant to shin pain include:

Periostitis – this is inflammation of the sheath surrounding the bone. It is important to stay away from the bone when performing shin splints massage.

Muscle strains – massaging a recent muscle strain or tear will increase bleeding and make it worse.

Thrombosis – or DVT is a blood clot common in the calf muscles. If you suspect a DVT then seek medical advice immediately. Massage can cause very serious injury or worse!

Self-help massage techniques

Sports massage & myofascial release may be beneficial after the first 3 days or so. Massage will reduce tension in the muscles which may be causing excessive traction forces on the bone, as well as increasing blood flow and therefore, aiding the healing process.

Techniques should initially be light, being careful to avoid the inflamed periosteum along the bone as this can make symptoms worse.

Calf massage for shin splints

Calf supports

Shin & Calf Supports (UK) (USA)

Deep tissue massage techniques to the muscles at the back of the lower leg can help treat and prevent shin splints type pain.

Time needed: 30 minutes

How to massage calf muscles

  1. Check for contraindications

    Always check for contraindications, especially Deep vein thrombosis to ensure it is safe to perform sports massage.

  2. Positioning

    Position the patient on a firm base, preferably a massage table. Lie face down with the feet relaxed, either by supporting them with a rolled towel, or allowing the feet to hang over the end of the massage table.

  3. Light effleurage

    Begin with ‘effleurage’ techniques. These are light stroking techniques that begin to warm up the tissues ready for deeper techniques.

  4. Deep effleurage

    As above, but gradually working deeper into the tissues. Do not go so deep that the patient tightens up with pain as the benefits will be lost.

  5. Petrissage

    These are a variety of kneading-type techniques. Work as deep as is comfortable. Over time, as the injury improves massage pressure can be increased. Alternate petrissage techniques with effleurage.

  6. Tapotement

    These are optional percussion-type techniques. Some therapists may choose to use them, but probably only in the later stages of recovery.

  7. Finishing

    Return to light effleurage techniques to complete the massage.

Calf supports

Paper Couch Rolls (UK) (USA)

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