Shin splints are characterized by pain and discomfort located in the anterior region of the lower leg and are often caused by prolonged or intense physical activity. This condition may occur from not providing the feet and legs with proper support during exercise or exercising too strenuously for the body's current fitness level. It is useful to know how to create a shin splint wrap in the event of shin splints, as allowing the condition to continue can result in stress fractures of the tibia. Shin splint wraps can be made from such materials as medical tape or elastic bandaging and are applied to fit the leg snugly for optimum support.
The first step in making a shin splint wrap is to purchase medical tape, or zinc oxide training tape as it is sometimes known. If there is a known allergy to this type of tape, a good alternative is to acquire a cloth bandage, normally referred to as an ace bandage, designed for appendage support. Especially when using medical tape for the splint, it is suggested to shave the hair on the lower leg to reduce the likelihood of painful pulling when the shin splint wrap is later removed. Some people, especially men, prefer to use the cloth bandage option to eliminate the need for shaving.
To create a shin splint wrap, wrap the tape or cloth bandage around the ankle bone and the Achilles tendon on the back of the leg, then continue wrapping higher on the leg to create a diagonal line. During the wrapping process, is it is important to not wrap too tightly, as this will limit blood flow to the area and possibly cause numbness or tingling. The wrapping material should be wrapped around the shin three to four more times, paying special attention to limiting the mobility of the ankle and creating support for the tender areas of the shin. Tear off the tape or fasten the cloth bandage with metal fasteners and walk around a bit to determine if the wrap is supportive without being restrictive.
While the shin splint injury heals, most sports trainers and other medical professionals suggest limiting normal activity. This means to reduce the amount of running, jumping, or jogging for long distances that may further stress the shin area. It typically takes about two weeks for this type of damage to heal. Participating in exercises such as walking and slow jogging for shorter distances while wearing a shin splint compression wrap is recommended as well.