Shin splints are perhaps the most common injuries in soccer.
However, shin splints are not in themselves an injury, but instead a result of a more complicated issue that if neglected, could turn into a more serious issue.
What Causes Soccer Shin Splints?
Shin splints are a throbbing or aching pain that is experienced in the shin area. This pain is commonly the result of irritated or swollen leg muscles due to a period of prolonged aerobic activity.
There are 5 factors that cause soccer shin splints:
If you change your method of training such as the beginning of the soccer season or an especially tough training course/method you may experience shin splints.
They will also occur if you increase the intensity or frequency of training and when you increase the duration of training (think of that really long practice you had recently and the tough drills you did).
Training on uneven surfaces (especially if you haven’t done this type of training in a long time or if you have abruptly changed to this kind of workout) can lead to soccer shin splints.
Pain can hit you if you trained on an uneven field, ran on the beach as part of practice or even on a soccer field with snow.
Simple abnormalities in the body such as misalignments, muscle inflexibility, weakness and instability are all factors that can lead to painful shin splints.
Over-pronation of the foot and inflexibility of the calf muscles can also be factors that increase the likelihood of nasty shin splints.
Making sure that you are wearing the correct shoe plays a huge role in preventing soccer shin splints especially if your foot over-pronates.
As opposed to shopping online for the proper cleats go visit your local soccer specialty store; you need to be fitting properly – they are the ones who see hundreds of feet and can recommend the right size and type for you. They can be pricey but think of the value you get id they will minimize or eliminate your soccer shin splints.
Injuries of the lower leg are very often related to improper soccer techniques. If you have been playing soccer for a long time you may have picked up some bad habits and/or traits. As a result you may have acquired some repetitive habits that have tightened up certain muscles and have weakened others.
Other less common causes of shin splints are an athlete suffering from “flat feet” a condition that causes the arch of the foot to collapse or, in more severe cases, can be the result of a stress fracture.
These injuries if left untreated can have long lasting effects on a player’s ability to perform at their maximum capacity and, if aggravated, could lead to longer lasting issues.
How to Prevent Shin Splints
When a player begins to feel the initial pain associated with shin splints, they should leave the playing field immediately and have their injury attended to. In many cases treatment of the injury may consist only of a brief icing session, one that will relax the muscles and eliminate the pain.
At the end of each practice or game, players should go through another stretching session. This session serves as the proper cool down after muscles have been thoroughly worked and will ensure that the muscles do not tighten up in the next few hours, a condition that could increase the risk of future injuries.