Beach Volleyball Injuries: The Unexpected Shin Splints

Christopher C. Dodson, MD June 28th, 2017

Learn how to properly prepare for summer sports with some easy everyday choices.

Beach volleyball, while a highly popular sport for the summer months, is an example of improperly preparing for a sport in order to prevent injury. Beach volleyball is usually played without physical protection, on uneven terrain, and in an uncontrolled setting. Awareness and proper preparation can go a long way in preventing beach volleyball injuries.

Volleyball players are most prone to sudden trauma and overuse injuries, the latter of which includes injuries like sprains, strains, tendonitis, and shin splints. Shin splints remain some of the more underestimated, yet common beach volleyball injuries.

Understanding Beach Volleyball Injuries: A Closer Look at Shin Splints

Shin splints, which typically occur following a good deal of physical activity, are an inflammation of the leg around the tibia. Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints affect the bone tissue, muscles, and tendons around the tibia, usually causing significant pain along the tibia’s inner edge. The additional exertion required to move and jump in sand can make that frustrating irritation more likely to flare up.

While most often associated with running, shin splints can occur in a variety of instances of rigorous physical activity, including beach volleyball. No matter the injury, when it comes to knowing how to prepare yourself, the main thing to do is to plan ahead: ask yourself, do I have the proper gear for the activity I’m doing? Have I been exercising and keeping my body ready? Have I been over-exercising, in which case I shouldn’t engage in too much physical activity?

Let’s think about three everyday things you can do to help you or a loved one avoid suffering beach volleyball injuries from shin splints and beyond.

Step 1: Exercise Well

Exercising well means being diligent, which means committing yourself to a task while being strategic about its execution. Strategy means planning ahead, which is the biggest asset you have in knowing how to prevent volleyball injuries like shin splints from ever occurring.

Your body will let you know when you have over-exerted yourself. If you are diligent with your exercise, you will know just what your body can and can’t handle. Patients who regularly overexert during exercise, and carry out high-intensity activities without moderation are at the highest risk for shin splints.

Step 2: Target Your Exercise

The particular movements and exertion that are required for beach volleyball are pretty unique. If you are only playing the occasional game throughout the summer, then your muscles may not be properly toned to handle the stress. To compensate for this, spend time doing exercises that target those leg muscles. Strengthen your calves and quads ahead of time and you are less likely to have difficulty on game day.

Step 3: A Little Variety never Hurt

Part of the concept of over-exercising, and likewise putting yourself at risk for injuries such as shin splints, is the easy mistake of only committing to one type of activity. Get out and do some other activities that won’t put the same strain on your body. Biking and swimming are especially good cross-training options. This is especially important if you do notice the beginning signs of shin splints. Persisting with activities that cause irritation will only worsen the problem. Give your body a break and you will be able to get back to playing your game.

Enlist a Knowledgeable Orthopedic Provider

If you would like to schedule an appointment, or would simply like more information on proper shin splint prevention, visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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