How Shin Splints Lead to a New Venture

May 01, 2020

Joshua Levy had shin splints. He’d been playing rugby and the standard treatment – icing and stretching - wasn’t working. Levy had also just enrolled in an entrepreneurship class at Colorado Mesa University that required students to create a company by the end of the semester. It didn’t take long for these two seemingly unrelated events to collide, creating what has now become a burgeoning startup business: Shin-bar.

Many athletes have experienced shin splints – a tearing pain on the front of your leg that can feel like the muscle is splitting from the bone. In fact, shin splints are caused by repeated stress to the shinbone and connective tissue. Levy eventually had x-rays taken of his leg, revealing scar tissue. His surgeon recommended using the Graston Technique, a form of manual therapy using metal tools to “scrape” at the scar tissue.

“Graston is really invasive,” Levy says. “You have to stop training and let it heal.”

It’s also not a product you can take home and use yourself, requiring regular appointments with a licensed clinician.

That’s when Levy had the idea: he could develop a simple, take-home tool for remedying shin splints and create a new business for his class.

Shin-bar was born.

The small, metal tool helps to reduce inflammation and alleviate stress to the injured area. Levy says it’s designed so athletes can continue training while using Shin-bar.

To help launch the business, Startup Colorado provided Levy and his business partner Kavin Hanner with scholarships to the last two Denver Startup Weeks. The opportunity not only helped his manufacturing process, but also make an important connection with an investor. At this year’s DSW, Levy received partial funding for a new, complimentary product: muscle butter.

“[I wanted to] create an extra revenue stream so it can keep coming,” Levy says. “I need to sell something that you need to keep buying.”

It’s an exciting time for Levy. Shin-bar is up and running. He graduates in the Spring. And he’s already on the lookout for other ventures.

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