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Instep Dance Magazine Articles

Reprints of monthly column as first appearing in Instep Dance Magazine (no longer in print).

September 2001

Functional Taping for Shin Splints and Leg Cramps

By Rick Allen, DC

"Better health leads to better dancing."

Previously, I reviewed the common problems of leg cramps--"Muscle Cramps Cramping Your Style?" (April 1997) and "Shin Splints" (February 2001).

Muscles that are overtaxed, injured, or exposed to extreme temperatures may be particularly vulnerable to involuntary muscle cramp. Staying well-hydrated and correcting electrolyte imbalance or mineral deficiencies can usually solve this problem. Drink lots of water, six to eight glasses each day, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables!

Kinesio taped Calf photo

Shin splints are actually stress injuries to the lower leg, as was pointed out in the August Running Fit-News, published by the American Running Association, of which I am a professional member. Professionals sometimes call this tibial stress syndrome that includes inflammation of the tendons, fascial connective tissue and periosteum of the tibia and, sometimes, even stress fractures of the tibia. The Fit-News article correctly stated that treatment includes correction of any biomechanical errors, choosing the right shoe, correcting training errors, and stretching and strengthening of leg muscles.

There is another treatment that can help, especially in the acute phase for either condition: specialized functional taping.

As a chiropractic doctor with Pro-Sport Chiropractic, I recently took additional post-graduate training in the use of Kinesio Tape. Developed in Japan by Dr. Kenzo Kase, D.C. nearly twenty years ago and introduced in the United States in 1995, this method of taping uses a uniquely designed and patented tape for the treatment of muscular disorders and lymphedema reduction. It has stretchability similar to human skin, unlike the traditional stiff white athletic tape. The tape gently assists muscles while allowing full range of motion that enables an individual to participate in physical activity.

Along similar lines, the Fall 2001 Massage Therapy Journal had an interesting article on "Functional Fascial Taping" by Ron Alexander. Designed originally to help ballet dancers, this method can be used to treat many common sports injuries. The tape is applied in a functional range to treat the area during movement. The objective is to create mini, frequent myofascial release treatments when movement occurs.

If you are experiencing leg cramps or shin splints, or similar pain in other areas, consider seeing a chiropractor or other health professional trained in either of these two new, highly effective methods of taping, in addition to the evaluation and treatments previously suggested.

Next article: "Tender Tootsies: Foot Pain in the Elderly Dancer."

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