Shin splints is not an actual condition, but it is a term used to describe pain that runs along the back of the shinbone or the shinbone itself. It is also often referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome and occurs as a result of excessive force being placed on the connective tissues that attach bones to muscles, and the shinbone. This is rather common in soccer due to the sudden stops and starts that are often necessary to change directions on the field.
Do I Have Shin Splints?
The symptoms of this condition are not exclusive of this condition, but knowing them can help you determine if this is what you are experiencing. Your lower leg may be swollen with this syndrome. The swelling is generally quite mild. Along the inner area of the lower leg, soreness, pain and tenderness are common.
Diagnosing Shin Splints
A physical exam and your medical history are usually all that is necessary to make a diagnosis. If your doctor feels that there is another cause for your symptoms, he may suggest getting imaging tests done. These can be used to look for things like a stress fracture that can cause very similar symptoms.
Preventing Shin Splints
Like with most soccer injuries, having the proper shoes goes a long way in preventing this injury. Not only do you need the proper shoes, but you want your shoes to be in good shape. Once shoes start to wear out, it is time to get a new pair. Arch support is a way to prevent this injury. This is especially important if you have flat arches. Your doctor can help to fit you for the proper arch support.
Training for soccer by running and actually playing the game is important, but this also puts a lot of stress on your shins. To help maintain a good training schedule while saving your shins, try cross-training. Sports like swimming can help you stay in excellent shape while giving your shins a break.
You want your calf muscles to be strong so that they can withstand impact. A simple exercise like calf raises can be incredibly beneficial. Start by doing 10 a day and build up to three sets of 10.