Soccer Injury Prevention: Soccer shin guards are not for shin splints

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Wear correctly sized, unbroken shin guards to every match
Wear correctly sized, unbroken shin guards to every match

What Kind Of Injuries Does A Soccer Shin Guard Prevent?

This was a question posted on a soccer equipment website. The answer made us laugh out loud: I know that soccer shin guards can help prevent shin splints, but what other injuries can these shin guards prevent?

The official website of the ACC answers the question “What exactly is shin splints?”
Scott Spernoga, MEd, ATC, Assistant Athletic Trainer, Wake Forest University wrote:
The term “shin splints” is often incorrectly used to categorize a wide variety of lower leg conditions ranging from tendonitis to stress fractures. This term includes both bone and soft tissue problems. In the sports medicine setting, shin splints are better referred to as “Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome” (MTSS).

MTSS is defined as syndrome in which increased stress causes an injury to the medial or inside part of the lower leg. This overuse injury is frequently found in sports which involve repetitive running such as field hockey, soccer and cross country. Shin splints do not occur overnight, but over a period of time. Often this occurs in the initial 2-3 weeks of training.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons more than 477,500 soccer-related injuries are treated in hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and hospital emergency rooms each year. Wearing shin guards can help protect your lower legs. Soccer tournament records have shown that most players who sustained lower leg injuries were not protected by adequate shin guards. So don’t go without them and don’t wear your little sister’s pair. I have had shin splints while pounding the boards of the indoor track at Boston University; they are painful and take a long time to heal.

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