Badminton is a popular sport across Australia, but like any other form of physical activity, injuries can occur. Common injuries in badminton include sprained ankles and tennis elbow, but players can also experience shin splints. Find out what causes this problem, and learn more about the steps you may need to take to deal with the issue.
What are shin splints?
The term 'shin splints' is often one that people apply to any pain that occurs beneath the knee and the ankle, but there are several variations of the condition. Medial shin splints occur inside the leg while anterior shin splints affect the outside of the leg.
Shin splints can cause several painful symptoms. You may experience pain and tenderness in your lower leg. You may also find it hard to flex your toes up without pain. The pain often occurs the day after a match, but you can also get shin splints during a game.
What causes shin splints?
Runners often experience the problem in their dominant leg, but badminton players can get shin splints in one or both legs. Failure to warm up and stretch before a game will often lead to shin splints, due to an imbalance between your calf muscles and the muscles in the front of your leg.
Certain techniques will also exacerbate the problem. For example, overpronation occurs if your foot rolls too far inward (more than fifteen degrees) to meet the ground after the heel strikes. Although common in runners, overpronation also affects badminton players, who must move around the court to hit the shuttlecock. If you balance on the balls of your feet a lot to reach higher shots, you can also increase the risk of shin splints.
The wrong type of footwear can also cause shin splints. Badminton shoes have a thinner sole to lower your centre of gravity and cut the risk of injuries. As such, regular running shoes are not normally suitable for badminton. However, if you are prone to shin splints, you may need insoles to cushion your feet.
How do you treat and prevent shin splints?
Rest can help ease the pain of shin splints, and, in mild cases, the pain may subside within a few hours. With limited activity and rest, more severe cases will normally only last a few days, but you can take over-the-counter pain medication if the symptoms are too painful. You can also speed up the healing process by applying ice packs to help the swelling, and massage is also often beneficial.
Shin splints are a painful condition that can affect badminton players. Talk to an expert in podiatric practice for further information and advice.