Whether your tennis goal is to earn a starting spot on your high school squad, lock down a scholarship or make it to the bright lights of the ATP Tour, you are spending countless hours practicing your game. This subjects your body to constant pounding on hard surfaces, which means you’re at risk for shin splints.
According to Justin Robinson, Optimal Nutrition consultant and Rehab United performance coach, proper strength training can help you avoid this lower-leg calamity. We hit up Justin to explain the mechanics of shin splints.
STACK: How do shin splints occur?
Justin Robinson: If the hips aren’t strong enough, then every time your foot hits the ground the body changes. It has to absorb that impact. So if the hips aren’t strong enough, that impact is going to be transferred more to the shins and the calves and the knee rather than be absorbed in the powerhouse of the body, which is our hip and glute complex.
STACK: How does this affect the body?
JR: I’m just throwing random numbers out there, but instead of maybe absorbing 20 percent of the force [like] it may normally, the muscles in the shins may be absorbing 40 percent of the force.
STACK: What happens when the muscles get overworked?
JR: That’s when the muscles are going to get angry at you, and when they get angry they get inflamed. They swell, and that puts a lot of pressure on the parts where it touches the bone. We have nerves running through there, so if we’re pinching those nerves, that can be part of what shin splints are…that pain every time we load or every time we impact the shin.