Five Steps for Dealing with Shin Splints from Playing Soccer
Shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome, are a form of leg injury that causes pain in the lower front area of the leg. The pain often comes from too much stress on the shinbone, its tissues, and the surrounding muscles. Due to the nature of the sport, shin splints are a common injury for soccer players. The excessive running, dribbling, kicking, and handling drills that occur during practices and in games results in wear and tear on the legs that often makes shin splints an unavoidable soccer-related injury. However, there are ways athletes can manage and treat the syndrome. Here are five ways to deal with shin splints from playing soccer.
How to Deal With Shin Splints
- Wear the Correct Gear – Worn out shoes or cleats can hurt your feet, legs, knees, and hips. Running and training shoes can typically last up to 500 miles, so spending lots of practice and play time can reduce that number quickly. Your soccer cleats should give you the support you need to play comfortably. For additional support, arch supports, cushioned inserts, or shin splint taping can help. The right gear, along with practicing good form and body mechanics, can make a huge difference in preventing or minimizing shin splints.
- Listen to Your Body – As an athlete, you know the limits of your body. It’s crucial to recognize when something doesn’t feel right. Shin splints can be a sign for you to take it easy, as they usually show up when you’re overworking your body in practice or at a game. If you start feeling pain or fatigue, then listen to your body and rest.
- Prioritize Rest – You can experience the worst shin splint pain if you overtrain without any rest. When dealing with shin splints, try the RICE method, which requires you to rest, ice, compress, and elevate an injured area. For more relief and to soothe discomfort, consult with your doctor to learn if over the counter pain relievers or muscle rubs can work for you.
- Stretch Your Muscles – If you frequently suffer from shin splints, or want to lower your chances at getting them, stretch out your muscles. Leg stretches, such as a top or heel walk, can help warm up your muscles before working them or relieve them after long practices or games.
- Seek Advanced Treatment – Prolonged or frequent shin splint pain from playing soccer may be a sign of something more serious. On top of doing what you can to rest and heal, always be sure to tell someone about your injuries, such as a trainer, medical professional, or doctor. Their analysis can lead you in the right direction for a swift recovery.
Where to Get Advanced Treatment for Shin Splints
Keeping your body in peak condition is crucial for any soccer player. If you’re constantly dealing with musculoskeletal pain, whether in your legs or elsewhere, the highly experienced medical team at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine can help. With expert treatment plans and surgical intervention options, our team is dedicated to getting people back on their feet so they can return to their everyday life. If you’re looking to recover from an injury, request an appointment online or give us a call at 904-825-0540.
Casey McClone, MD
Board Certifications in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine. Dr. McClone specializes in treating musculoskeletal pain for patients of all ages with ultra-sound guided injections.