Treating a Soccer Shin Splint
Developing soccer shin splints is one of the most common injuries facing soccer players.
Players who are diagnosed with Tibial Stress Syndrome, more commonly known as “shin splints”, are noticeably uncomfortable on the pitch.
In any sport that requires a lot of running, shin splints can occur. For soccer players, this is exacerbated by the fact that the sport is often played with their feet.
The pain that a shin splint can cause on and off the field can be extremely painful. How is it caused and what can you do about it? We’ll address these questions in the following article.
What is a Shin Splint?
A shin splint is an inflammatory condition of the outside of the shin bone (tibia).
The pain and discomfort comes from both the bone and muscle of one or two legs. The pain can sometimes travel to the feet as well.
Shin splints occur because of repetitive movements that aggravate the shin. Training too hard or too quickly, running on hard surfaces and not having the proper footwear are common reasons why soccer players develop shin splints.
What Causes Shin Splints in Soccer?
We get it, shin splints are terrible! It helps if you can avoid them altogether but sometimes it’s too late.
Again, shin splints often occur when the tibia/shin is overused during sports. The pain is the result of irritation of swollen leg muscles that don’t get time to heal itself.
Here some factors that cause shin splints to occur in soccer players:
- Training on uneven surfaces. Sometimes, training on the beach or uneven fields can cause the foot to unnaturally extend.
- Increased workout intensity. It’s always best to ease into workouts and in-season training. When you go from 0-100mph, your body may have a negative reaction in the form of shin splints or other aches and pains.
- Instability and muscle inflexibility can be a cause of shin splints. When this occurs, a player could be overcompensating on the other leg which causes injuries.
- Improper soccer techniques can cause your body to wear and tear over time. This is why practicing fundamentals is so vital to a soccer player’s longevity.
How to Treat Shin Splints
Like many injuries, it’s important for soccer players to treat the cause and symptom of the injury before it returns again.
Here’s some recommendations on treating shin splints:
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help with inflammation.
- RICE method: rest, ice, compress and elevate. Learn more about the RICE method.
- Scale back trainings and possibly games for at least two weeks. Try to transition into non-weight bearing exercises such as biking or swimming.
- Wear proper footwear that is contoured to the shape of your foot.
- Stretch slowly.
Final Words About Shin Splints
As a soccer player, it’s so difficult to rest during the season. You don’t want to disappoint your teammates and coaches. But, proper rest is sometimes the only way to remedy the situation.
If left untreated or more abused, your shin splint could turn into something more serious.
If you’re still experiencing pain after treatment, you should see a specialist as soon as you can. A specialist can consult you on exactly what to do to heal your shin splint.
On a holistic approach, it’s important to treat your body as a temple. The body of a soccer player is the engine that drives their play.
Listen to your body. If you’re feeling aches and pains, get the proper rest and treatment. It’s worth it every time!