As an [tag]assistant baseball coach[/tag], you need to be aware of this common [tag]injury[/tag] to your [tag]baseball[/tag] players. This includes knowing what causes it and ways to prevent it.
Description: Shin splints involve pain in the muscles around the shin bones, on the front of the leg. Often, the muscle fibers will tear after repeated use, causing walking and other movements to be extremely painful. The tears cause small patches of bleeding around the bone as the fibers that connect the muscle to the shin bone pull away from the bone. This injury commonly occurs with running or jumping on hard surfaces or overuse of the area. Shin splints are generally seen in inexperienced athletes, though they are known to harm some trained athletes time and time again. Pain generally occurs on the outside front of the leg or on the inside back of the lower leg.
Prevention: To prevent [tag]shin splints[/tag], avoid running or jumping on hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt. Gradually increase running time to let the body get accustomed to prolonged exercise, and properly stretch the calves before and after a work-out.
Proper athletic shoes are a must for preventing shin splints. Well-made shoes provide adequate arch support that prevents the arch from falling, which strains the fibers attaching the arch to the shin bone and causing shin splints. Proper footwear also has shock absorption, which reduces the strain to the lower leg. If an athlete has weak arches, try an arch support inside the athletic shoe to prevent the arch from overworking.
To strengthen the calf and lower leg, practice calf raises by standing on a curb or other surface with a drop and lowering and raising the calf muscles. Also, strengthen the lower leg by doing small jumping exercises, focusing on the landing of the feet, ensuring that the athlete lands on the balls of the foot and rolls down through the foot to avoid injuring the foot or the ankle. Another activity is jumping lunges. The athlete stands in a middle lunge with the legs bent, but remembering to keep the knees level over the ankles. The athlete pushes off the ground and straightens the legs before landing back in the original middle lunge position. This helps strengthen the entire leg, which reduces injury to the shin and ankle.