Shin guards are used as a protective device that reduces the force of impact on the tibia, a very fragile area that can be very painful as it is located directly under the skin and lacks previous muscles. In addition, it is an area very close to the periosteum, a connective tissue membrane full of pain receptors. Thus, “the main task of the shin defenders is to prevent injuries such as injuries or fractures, which allows the player to play sports safely,” says Javier Alfaro Santafé, Podiatrist of the Absolute Spanish Football Team and Technical Director.
They are mandatory in federated football because, according to this expert, “it has been proven to be indispensable in terms of protection and prevention of common tibia injuries in football. For this reason, the International Football Federation, better known as FIFA (the supreme body of world football), is collecting exclusive provisions for the use of shin guards as part of the rules for player kits. ”
Shin guards should mainly cover the shin, as the name suggests; that is, the area between the bottom of the knee and the top of the lower leg. “We have to make sure they are placed correctly because wearing shin guards is just as important as placing them,” says Alfaro.
In the case of conventional shin guards, it is important to choose the size that best matches the physiognomy of the player so that he does not move excessively, making him awkward to use, which can be dangerous.
In turn, some type of support or the use of a compression stocking on the shin guard itself is always recommended.
Can pressure on the lower leg cause pain?
“Shin guards, when properly positioned, cannot and should not hurt. The goal is for the player to be able to play the sport safely, but also comfortably. This is the part we take into account when making our visors. For this reason, we cover the face in contact with the skin with a material that is very pleasant to the touch, which makes the player feel comfortable, ”says the orthopedist.
Are there different sizes?
“There are different sizes of shin guards, as well as an exclusive patient size as we can design them based on the patient’s geometry. This is a great added value that we offer with our shin protectors, ”Alfaro replies.
“In common shin guards, we have three sizes (S, M or L), depending on the diameter and length of the player’s leg. For example, in the case of the Podoactiva Carbon Protection model, the size is marked by the player himself with his measurements thanks to the use of artificial intelligence and big data. The Podoactiva Elite Protection is a custom shin protector from 3D scanning of the tibia. This means that by scanning the player’s shin, we get a virtual shape that allows us to know the exact measurements and contours. Thanks to this, our engineering team is able to design a shin guard that adapts perfectly to the player’s face thanks to the virtual model itself, ”says the technical director.
When should the shields be changed?
“We recommend replacing them when their condition worsens as this can weaken the protective function of the shin guard, even making them dangerous to use. For this reason, we recommend that players check their shin pads before each game to ensure they are in perfect condition, “concludes Alfaro.