Making sure you are safe and well-prepared on the soccer field is a great way to ensure you can keep playing while remaining at the top of your game.
If you meet with an injury, especially one to your legs, you could have lasting effects that block you not just from one game but perhaps many more.
Fortunately, there are many inventions out there that will help you stay safe in soccer. One of the most important of these is shin guards.
However, if you do not know how to wear them properly, they may end up hindering your performance. It is therefore important to know how to secure them properly before the big day.
Why Wear Shin Guards?
Before knowing how to wear soccer shin guards, it is important to know why (see also ‘What To Wear To Soccer Practice?‘). If you know the reason behind it, you are more likely to put effort into picking the right ones.
Although not typically a contact sport, soccer is still responsible for over 200,000 injuries a year in the US alone. This number is staggering, but many of these injuries can be avoided with proper shin guard usage.
How Do They Work?
There are usually three main components to shin guards that all help them function properly.
The first key component is the front plate. This is a hard layer of plastic, or a polypropylene shell, that acts as the first line of defense against your shins being injured.
This solid material takes any blows for you, leaving you to get on with the match.
Behind this shield is a layer designed for comfort and protection. Often made from rubber or certain types of foam, this layer helps to absorb the impact of the blow.
Without it, even with the shield on the front, you would still have a chance for injury.
Finally, shin guards tend to also have claps to allow you to attach them around your leg. Some don’t come with these built in, relying instead on the elastic of your socks (see also: What Are Grip Socks?)to keep them in place.
Risks Of Not Wearing Them
While the potential for injury in any sport is always a risk you take when playing, leg injuries in soccer can be some of the most common, yet devastating.
Shin splints are a frequent side effect of playing soccer. They occur when taking repeated blows to the shin, or when running upon a hard surface.
Shin guards will help lessen the chance of shin splints by absorbing the impact of blows to your shin. This will save you from a great deal of pain and discomfort in the long run.
Another reason to wear shin guards in soccer is to prevent bone bruising. Although a less common type of injury than shin splints, this is definitely something to watch out for.
When your shin is subjected to a hard blow, such as the result of a failed tackle, there is a chance that the tissue surrounding your shin-bone will become damaged.
This can lead to fractures and even full breaks of the bone, so preventing bruising in the first place is very important.
Read about the best shin guards for youth players.
Other Uses In Sports
Shin guards aren’t just for soccer, although that is where they are most commonly used. You may also see shin guards in sports like MMA and other martial arts, where kicking is commonplace.
If your shins are at risk in a game of soccer, you can only imagine how much more dangerous it would be if someone was trying to kick you. Still, their necessity in a soccer match should not be understated.
How To Secure Your Shin Guards
So now that you know why you should wear soccer shin guards, it is a good idea to learn how to wear them.
This can be less obvious than you would think. Making sure your shin guards are properly secured will give you the best chances at stopping any injuries, bringing your play to the next level.
Wear Them With Socks
That’s right, socks are key here. Your shin guards should be worn underneath a pair of appropriate socks.
Picking the right socks is just as important as picking a good pair of shin guards, as this will secure them properly while providing an extra layer of protection.
Some shin guards don’t even come with clasps, so they must be worn under socks to keep them in place.
Make Sure They Fit
Before you go to wear them, picking the right fit for your soccer shin guards is absolutely vital. If they are loose, or even too tight, they won’t function correctly.
Make sure to try on your shin guards before buying them. Too tight, and they might cause injury rather than prevent it. It also wouldn’t be very comfortable wearing tight shin guards for an entire match.
Likewise, loose shin guards can also lead to injury if they become displaced.
Secure Them Properly
To wear soccer (see also: What To Wear To A Soccer Game)shin guards, you must first rest the soft side of the guards against your bare shin. If it has claps, fasten them securely in the way that feels most comfortable around the back of your leg.
Pull your socks up over the shin guard. This will hold them in place and give some extra comfort and protection.
If you feel like securing them even more tightly, wrap some shin guard tape around your socks. This will hold them in place and prevent friction.
Soccer can be a dangerous sport. Although not usually as harmful as sports like MMA or football, there are still an enormous number of soccer-related injuries each year.
By wearing your shin guards properly, with the right socks and the right tightness, you will be able to avoid debilitating shin injuries like bone bruising, shin splints, and even breaks.
Make sure to pick the right shin guards to begin with. This will save you a lot of hassle, not to mention pain, in the long run. Now get out there and score some goals! (read here for more information on how to score a goal)