In 1965, a man from Muskegon, MI, fastened two skis together with a rope on the end so his daughters could steer as they slid down a snowy hill. He sold the idea, and over the next ten years about a million “snurfers” were sold. In the decades since, modern snowboarding has evolved, and it has become an Olympic sport enjoyed by millions of people. If you’ve already hauled your board out for the first run of the season, but didn’t take time to prepare for it properly, you might now be suffering from a bad case of shin splints.
The term is used for various painful problems in the lower front leg, but the most common is damage to the soft tissue along the tibia, or shin bone. Any time you repeatedly stress these tissues, or suddenly subject them to more trauma than they are used to, you can irritate them. The surface sheath of the bone itself can also be damaged, all of which can lead to inflammation and pain.
Some pre-existing conditions make you more prone to this kind of injury, like having flat feet or high arches, or tight calf and hamstring muscles. That’s why it is important to make sure your footgear has proper support for your arch, and you take the time to warm up for a few minutes before you head down the hill. Holding to a consistent stretching routine can do a lot to stave off shin splints. Start with these three:
Heel Drop – stand with one heel off the edge of a step, lower slightly and hold 30 seconds. Repeat with other foot
Soleus Stretch – facing a wall with palms about shoulder height, move right foot forward, bend both that knee and your elbows, and lean in for 15 seconds. Repeat with left foot.
Reclining Hamstring Stretch – lie on your back partway in a doorway and lift right leg up against the wall so it is almost at right angle to the floor. Hold 30 seconds, move to the opposite side and repeat with left leg.
If you are suffering shin pain that isn’t getting better, the best thing you can do is rest from activity and give us a call to see what treatment might help. Set up your appointment at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center by calling (303) 423-2520.
Photo credit: franky242 via freedigitalphotos.net