Shin Splint Scraping: Key Tips for a Quicker Recovery

Ariana Purificati Fune

If you’re feeling dull aches on the inside of your shin bone either before, during, or after a workout, chances are you are experiencing shin splints. Shin splints are a very common injury in running and jumping activities but knowing how to treat them is not so common. 

Although shin splint pain feels like it resonates from the bone, muscle scraping is one of the most effective ways to treat this type of pain.

This article will guide you through the “why” and “how” of adding muscle scraping for shin splints to your recovery plan. 

Muscle scraping for shin splint recovery

Shin splints, clinically named Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome1, are caused by repetitive stress or load to the tibia, the large bone in your shins. When the muscles in your lower leg become tight and inflexible, your ankle may not be able to move and absorb shock properly. Without proper shock absorption, your tibia will take the majority of the impact when running or landing from a jump. 

Muscle scraping is based on gua-sha, a technique used for centuries in Traditional East Asian Medicine to promote muscle recovery. This technique helps reduce stiffness and increase the range of motion of muscles, allowing your ankles to move properly. 

As we’ve outlined before on our blog:

Studies show that muscle scraping may be able to promote better range of motion through the enhancement of blood circulation, alleviation of scar tissue, and improving tendon and tissue extensibility. It’s also being considered as a safe and natural way to remodel soft tissue following an injury.

Scraping tips for maximal shin splint relief

A few key tips for maximizing the effectiveness of muscle scraping for relieving shin splints. 

Go beyond the shins

While it may seem intuitive to focus on scraping where you feel pain, it’s important to target all of the muscles that could be contributing to this injury. The muscles of both the shins and the calves all produce movement at the ankle and all need to be scraped to ensure proper function. 

Scrape elongated muscles to get deeper relief

When scraping the muscles on your shin, point your toes down and inward. When scraping the muscles on the calf, pull your toes up. Your muscles will be lengthened in these positions, allowing deeper relief through the entire tissue. In all areas, start your strokes just below the knee and work your way down to the ankle to promote recovery throughout the entire muscle. 

Scraping with the calf muscles elongated
Scraping with the shin muscles elongated

How does scraping compare to other treatments?

When experiencing shin splints, people are often told to treat the injury with rest and stretching. 

While these two options may still be effective, scraping makes for a much quicker recovery. 

Rest allows healing to occur uninterrupted but can take time. Muscle scraping promotes new blood flow, which stimulates the healing response to help your muscles recover more quickly. 

Stretching is a great option for relieving tension, however, it requires a consistent program. Muscle scraping breaks up tension in fewer sessions compared to stretching so you can get back to being active in less time!

Steps for Scraping Shin Splints

  1. Apply the Oasis Roller Gel or Revive Emollient Spray to the skin of the shins and calves as a lubricant prior to scraping.

2. Hold the Eclipse Muscle Scraper at about a 30-degree angle, applying moderate pressure. Scrape for about 20-30 seconds per section. Remember, scraping shouldn’t hurt!

3. Repeat as needed or at least once a day for continued relief!

Conclusion

Shin splints are a common experience among many people and are often difficult to deal with. The good news is, muscle scraping offers a quick, easy, and effective solution to relieve pain and inflammation in the area.

If you’re ready to start feeling relief, give muscle scraping a try!

References

  1. Medial tibial stress syndrome. Physiopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2022, from https://www.physio-pedia.com/index.php?title=Medial_Tibial_Stress_Syndrome&utm_source=physiopedia&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=ongoing_internal#cite_note-:1-2
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Ariana Purificati Fune

Ariana is a Certified Personal Trainer and holds a BSc in Kinesiology. She has a passion for making fitness inclusive and accessible to everyone.

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