It seems everyone is looking for recovery from shin damage. Lumps from shin clashes are a common part of Muay Thai, both training and fights, and in fighting over 120 times in the last few years I’ve definitely picked up a few things on how to best, and most quickly get back to training and the ring. In the past two months I’ve been fighting very frequently and I got a little behind in my usual maintenance hot water massage, a little lazy honestly, and let the swelling from checking kicks get away from me a bit on my left shin. If I’d been more aggressive with the ice right after fights and even more so the regular heat treatment after that, it probably wouldn’t have been too bad. But here we are. So then I’ve had to paddle upstream a bit and deal with the swelling in fights and training because it was just going to be there for a while.
Alternate Method of Bringing Heat
So this is a kind of update on those tried and true methods, a few short cuts or alternate ways of bringing heat to your swollen shin. Recently, Kevin and I were talking about how I need some kind of electronic heating pad. I’ve had some success in the last month, with these disposable heat patches that are chemically like the hand-warmers that skiers might be familiar with. They’re adhesive and once they’re exposed to air they heat up and can stay warm for 10 hours. The packaging say to NOT put these directly on your skin, but I go ahead and do so. (I am not recommending this, only letting you know what I do. To be safe you should consider putting them over thin clothing, or using them for shorter periods of time. You should err on the side of caution.). But I’ll stick one of those on my shin overnight and wake up to a flattened lump, which is great. But my laziness has made it so I was relying too much on those and not doing the “pressing out” that the hot water massages utilize to actually bring new blood to the area to help it heal. An electric heating pad would be good for that because I can keep the area warm and massage it, whereas leaving it overnight means no pressing out of the swelling.
And then we found an electronic hot water bottle (video above)! You just plug it in and it heats up in about 5 minutes, then turns itself off and stays warm for about an hour. (It stays warm for longer, but the heat required for this treatment is only in the first 30-60 minutes.) It works great, actually; especially because I can keep working while I’m treating the shin, which is kind of what keeps me from doing the hot water massage. (Note: the hot water massage is still needed and the best option; this is not in place of that, this is a supplement to that.) I must also caution you that in my first use I appear to have slightly burned my shin by leaving the water bottle on for too long at a time. It appears to be an accumulative burn, not from the heat being too high at once but being left on the skin for so long. I can’t actually feel the burn – it doesn’t hurt and I didn’t feel it happen – but it’s definitely a mild burn… like a sunburn maybe. So maybe an extra thin towel between or remembering to remove it every 10 minutes for a couple minutes’ break or something is ideal. In any case, this is one more tool I’m using to keep myself powering forward in training and in fights, maybe it can help you too.
If you missed my original video, read the article: this is the best method: Hot Water Massage from 3 years ago, it is below: