Can skateboarding cause shin splints? Knowing that this popular activity could lead to painful shin splints is essential if you’re an avid skateboarder.
The repetitive impact and stress placed on the lower leg muscles and joints can cause small tears in the tendons, leading to inflammation, swelling, and pain. Don’t worry; there are ways to prevent and treat this common injury.
In this guide, you’ll learn about shin splints, the connection between skateboarding and shin splints, and how to prevent and treat this painful condition.
So, whether you’re a beginner or a pro, keep reading to learn how to keep your shins healthy while skateboarding.
Can Skateboarding Cause Shin Splints?
Yes, skateboarding can cause shin splints. The repetitive impact and stress on the lower leg while skateboarding can lead to small muscle and tendon tears, causing inflammation and pain.
Skateboarding involves several movements that can contribute to the development of shin splints. These include jumping, landing, and pushing off the ground repeatedly.
The stress on the lower legs during these movements can cause small muscle and tendons tears, leading to inflammation and pain.
Medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is a common cause of shin splints. It is characterized by pain and tenderness along the tibia’s medial (inner) border (shinbone).
MTSS is caused by repetitive stress to the muscles and tendons that attach to the tibia, resulting in inflammation and pain.
Skateboarders who engage in high-impact activities, such as jumping and landing tricks, are at an increased risk of developing MTSS.
- Skateboarding can cause shin splints due to the repetitive impact and stress on the lower leg muscles and joints.
- Symptoms of shin splints include pain, swelling, tenderness, and weakness in the affected leg.
- Treatment for shin splints may include rest, ice, medication, and physical therapy.
- To prevent shin splints, it is essential to wear supportive footwear, use proper technique when skateboarding, gradually increase the intensity, take breaks, and do stretching and strengthening exercises.
- If you experience symptoms of shin splints, it is crucial to seek medical attention and take the necessary steps to prevent further injury.
Below I elaborate on how skateboarding can cause shin splints.
1. Repetitive Impact
One of the main ways that skateboarding can cause shin splints is through the repetitive impact on the shins. This impact can occur when jumping, landing, or pushing the skateboard. Over time, this repetitive impact can lead to pain and inflammation in the shin muscles and surrounding tissue.
2. Poor Footwear
Wearing the wrong shoes or shoes that lack proper support and cushioning can also contribute to developing shin splints. Shoes that do not provide enough shock absorption can increase the impact on the shins during skateboarding and lead to shin splints.
3. Incorrect Form
Improper form can also contribute to the development of shin splints. This can include landing too hard or with incorrect foot placement, which can strain the shins. Proper technique is essential to minimize the risk of injury and should be learned and practiced.
Skateboarding for extended periods without proper rest and recovery can increase the risk of overuse injuries, including shin splints. It’s essential to take breaks when needed, allow for proper recovery time, and gradually increase your skateboarding intensity and duration over time.
Skateboarding on uneven surfaces, particularly hard surfaces like concrete, can put extra stress on the shins. This can lead to shin splints or other injuries, particularly if you are not wearing appropriate footwear or need to warm up properly.
6. Starting Too Intensely
Beginning skateboarders may be eager to try new tricks and push themselves to their limits. However, starting too intensely without proper warm-up or technique or gradually increasing intensity and duration can lead to shin splints.
7. Lack of Warm-Up
Failing to warm up properly before skateboarding can also increase the risk of shin splints. Proper warm-ups should include stretching exercises focusing on the lower legs and feet and a light cardiovascular warm-up to increase muscle blood flow.
8. Muscle Imbalances
Skateboarding primarily uses the muscles in the lower legs, leading to muscle imbalances. If certain muscles become overdeveloped or underdeveloped, it can put extra stress on the shins and increase the risk of shin splints.
9. Poor Flexibility
A limited range of motion in the calves, ankles, and feet can contribute to shin splints. Proper stretching and flexibility exercises can help to minimize this risk.
10. Incorrect Equipment Setup
Improper skateboard setup, such as having the trucks too loose or tight, can affect how you land and put extra pressure on the shins, potentially leading to shin splints.
11. Insufficient Rest
If you don’t allow enough time for your shins to rest and recover between skateboarding sessions, it can increase the risk of developing shin splints.
12. Poor Running Technique
Skateboarding may require you to push your board forward with your foot repeatedly, which can lead to developing a running technique that puts extra strain on your shins, leading to shin splints.
13. Lack of Strength
If you don’t have enough lower leg strength, it can lead to fatigue and overuse, potentially causing shin splints. Proper strength training exercises like squats can help to minimize this risk.
Dehydration can cause the muscles in the legs to tighten and become more prone to injury, including shin splints. It’s essential to stay hydrated before, during, and after skateboarding.
15. Inadequate Nutrition
Skateboarding is a high-intensity activity that requires a lot of energy. If a person’s diet does not provide enough fuel for their body, it can lead to fatigue, weakness, and poor performance. This can stress the muscles and tissues of the legs, including the shins, making them more susceptible to injury and pain.
Symptoms of Shin Splints
Here are the top five symptoms of shin splints.
- Pain in the shin: Shin splints typically cause pain along the shin bone or tibia, which can be dull or sharp and may worsen during physical activity.
- Tenderness or soreness: The affected area may feel tender to the touch or sore, accompanied by swelling or redness.
- Stiffness or tightness: Shin splints may cause stiffness or tightness in the muscles surrounding the shin, making it difficult to flex the foot or move the ankle.
- Weakness: As shin splints progress, the affected area’s muscles may weaken, making walking or performing physical activities difficult.
- Numbness or tingling: In severe cases, shin splints can cause numbness or tingling in the foot or leg, which may be a sign of nerve damage.
How to Prevent Shin Splints from Skateboarding
- Stretching: Before and after skateboarding, make sure to stretch your calves and shins to warm them up and cool them down. This can help prevent tightness and muscle strains leading to shin splints.
- Proper Footwear: Wearing the right shoes can make a huge difference in preventing shin splints. Look for shoes with good support and cushioning, especially around the heels and arches. Skateboarding in shoes without proper support can increase the risk of developing shin splints.
- Gradual Progression: Don’t try to do too much too soon. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your skateboarding sessions to give your body time to adjust and avoid overworking your muscles.
- Cross-Training: Incorporating other exercises into your routine can help prevent shin splints. Exercises that target your lower leg muscles, such as calf raises and toe raises, can help strengthen the muscles around your shins.
Ways to Treat Shin Splints from Skateboarding
- Rest: If you’re experiencing shin splints, take a break from skateboarding and give your body time to heal. Continuing to skate with shin splints can make the condition worse.
- Ice: Applying ice to your shins can help reduce inflammation and pain. Use an ice pack or wrap ice in a towel and apply it to your shins for 20 minutes daily.
- Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relief medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate the pain associated with shin splints.
- Compression: Wearing compression socks or wrapping your shins with an elastic bandage can help reduce inflammation and provide support.