You are relatively new to roller skating, and but all you’re getting from your skating indoors or outdoors is shin pain. You love your brand new Rainbow Riders or whichever roller skates with metal base plates you own, but you’re losing your initial enthusiasm for roller skating. Because your shins are on fire and in anguish every time you skate. And you’re wondering, why am I having shin pain/discomfort after roller skating? Why do my shins hurt when I rollerskate and what can you do about it?
First Things First…
Can You Get Shin Splints Rollerskating?
Yes, but it’s not usual to get shin splints roller skating because this activity isn’t a high-impact sport like running. For shin splints to happen, you need to be subjecting your calves and shins to hard, repetitive impacts. What you’re more likely to get from normal roller skating is general inflammation and not shin splints. But if you skate the way you run, there’s a decent chance you might suffer shin splints.
Have a Consult With Your Doctor
If the discomfort you’re having is too much to the extent you can’t skate or don’t want to skate, see your doctor. I’m not able to give you any kind of professional advice when it comes to medical-related situations. You should only read this post beyond this point if your physician/physical therapist ruled out medical issues after assessment. Now that that is out of the way, let’s look at some of the reasons you might be experiencing discomfort around your shins after or even during skating.
7 Reasons Rollerskating is Hurting Your Shins
It’s possible none of the possible reasons for shin issues is what you’re deal with. I encourage you to read through the little list below just in case there’s something that might help you or make things better in some way.
1. Your Skating Technique/Skating Form Might be the Problem
While all kinds of skaters with different skating abilities may have complaining shins, beginner roller skaters tend to experience problems more often.
I had some shin and back problems when I first started rolling around my garage on quad skates. And I wasn’t the only person going through this experience. I read around the web and talked to other skaters.
What I learned is that what I was dealing with was kind of a widespread issue within the skating community. Ice skaters faced the same problem as did rollerbladers.
And one extremely helpful thing I learned from talking to a coach is that one’s skating form or skating technique can cause problems.
Most Beginners Confuse Running With Skating
If you’re like most starting skaters, you likely have been skating the same way you run. Your posture and weight distribution could use some work. Instead of having most of your weight somewhere over the middle of your foot, you have all of it over your toes. Piling your weight over your toes is one of the ways to end up with unhappy shins.
So, put more work into your skating form and ability. Improving your skating technique not only helps you skate better, but also ensures that you have correct weight distribution. And that no parts of your body receive more pressure than they should.
One more thing. When roller skating up any steep hill, make sure to point your feet out more than you’ve been doing. Now, pushing off your skates in that position might feel somewhat awkward, but it’ll help keep post-skating unhappiness at bay.
2. Are You Running before Your Skating Sessions?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced sore shins after running for a while. That used to happen quite a lot early on in my journey, and being a little heavier than I should have been didn’t help at all.
So, if you run and roller skate, it’s possible that the running part of your fitness program could be transferring the problem to your skating. Running happens to be a high-impact type of exercise, and shin discomfort isn’t uncommon especially for those new to running.
3. Maybe You Have an Incorrect Skate Fit
Anyone who’s been skating for any length of time knows this basic truth. That roller skating or skating in any form with poorly fitting skates is a terribly bad idea. The first step toward better roller skating is getting the fit right.
If you skate in very small quad skates, they’ll crush your feet and toes and expel every trace of enjoyment from your pastime. On the other hand, if your roller skates are too big so that your feet are floating all over the inside, you won’t have great power transfer. But it gets even worse. You’ll most likely end up with blisters, cuts, and bruises.
Also, if your boots are too roomy, it’s natural to grip your toes in an attempt to keep traction roller skating. But as you curl your toes, your innocent calves will likely suffer and protest about the strain.
Additionally, it’s possible for roller skates to have certain design flows that together translate into a poor fit. I once wore skates that forced my ankles into an awkward position. As the rest of my legs tried to compensate for that weird ankle position and skate fit, my shins were moved fast to let me know I’d been a ruthless task master!
So, get fitted at a good skate shop before purchasing your first pair of roller skates. Or at least read reliable roller skate reviews to learn which skates fit most skaters with the least amount of issues or complaints. I’m not saying a bad skate fit is a common cause of shin stress or shin splint. I’m just saying you need to be sure your roller skates fit properly before getting on the rink or sports court.
Your Physical Therapist Might Recommend Custom Insoles
Sometimes, skaters experience foot pain that extends all the way to the shins because they have flat feet with collapsed arches. If that’s you, a good idea might be talking to a licensed physical therapist or podiatrist. These foot health professionals should be able to examine your feet and recommend a pair of corrective orthotics.
Admittedly, good custom insoles that can correct flat-footedness can be prohibitively pricey, but they’re worth the cost in some instances. Some skaters have noticed that their shin pain rollerskating diminished substantially or even vanished altogether thanks to corrected biomechanics.
4. You’re Not Stretching Before and After Rollerskating
According to Heathline.com, there are fitness advantages to be had for warming up prior to exercise. It’s smart to not jump right into your rollerskating before investing some of your playtime into a warmup.
The experts over at Healthline claim advise people in all kinds of sports to prep for exercise so that they can reap the attendant fitness benefits. Failing to warm up before any kind of fitness-focused activity can increase muscle strain and the risk of injury. So, warm your body up a little before strapping on those boots.
A PT should be able to guide you on a slew of muscle-strengthening exercises that might help your situation. I’m no expert but I bet anything that focuses on strengthening your lower body should be a good idea.
These Simple Excises Might Help
Some common simple exercises you can practice pre-skating include calf raises, heel dips that stretch your calves, hip flexor exercises that loosen your joints and flexors, ankle rolls, skater squats, and whatnot. And why not avoid the elevator every time you can and strengthen your leg muscles through climbing stairs?
Well, I don’t have shin problems when roller skating. I don’t know whether that’s because I’ve committed to doing calf stretches, toe taps, toe raises, and more before and after quad skating.
But I’ve read that stretching one’s muscles before skating, while not always a surefire path to pain-free rollerskating, might offer noticeable benefits. So, why not try calf stretches and other leg muscle stretching exercises before and after skating and see if that helps?
5. You’re Probably Overusing One Leg
S0meone I know used to get enthusiasm-killing pain in their right calf and shin every time they made a few laps around the local skating rink. The skater couldn’t figure out what was causing the shin discomfort for the life of them. But someone at the rink after watching this rookie skater going round the rink pointed out something that helped.
The person had been placing their weight on their right foot most of the time because the rink was quite small. Plus, the shin pain suffer was new to skating. And, isn’t there always a tendency among beginners to overuse one leg?
So, if that’s what’s causing the anguish you’re facing, get better at skating and definitely stop piling all your weight on one leg. Also, get better at skating and stop lifting and twisting your legs awkwardly.
6. It Could Be a Trucks or Wheels Issue
The way your trucks are tuned up can also cause problems to your shins. Some skaters have gotten sore calves and painful shins after rolling around on skates with too loose trucks or too tight trucks. Fortunately, solving roller skate truck tightness issues is an easy, quick fix.
If your trucks are too tight or too loose, turning might get harder than it would otherwise be. And your calves and shin would have to work harder to compensate for the bad truck setup. So, try loosening your truck a couple of turns. Then, wear the skates and if the setup needs some further tune-up, do it.
Another reason your calves could be suffering is having super soft roller skate wheels.
Now, if you like skating outdoors and the asphalt roads and sidewalks where you’re at are rough, you need to use considerably soft wheels. You need wheels in the 78A-80A unless you’re a heavy skater. But many skaters have learned that having very soft wheels can really strain the calves. As the muscles in your legs try to compensate for the extra wheel softness, your calves will let you know…through pain.
So, if you suspect the problem could be your wheels being too soft, replace them with harder wheels. Harder wheels tend to last longer than softer ones by the way.
7. Vibrations Could be the Culprit
So, how smooth or rough is the surface you’re skating on? Not all skating surfaces are the same, and your calves and shins might sometimes react when you transition to a rougher surface. If you’ve been skating on a smooth concrete floor and then change to a wood floor or a skate court, you’ll see more vibrations especially if the wheels are too hard. I imagine those calve-shaking vibrations emanate from skating the gaps between the boards or tiles.
Final Thoughts on Shin Issues and Possible Fixes
No one likes it when their shins and calves seize up into giant muscle cramps. But it happens. A poor skate fit could be the cause. Or a bad skating posture. Or having extremely loose/tight trucks. Or the wheels could be too soft.
Or you’ve not been stretching your leg muscles enough. Or you’re over-relying on one foot when turning around at the rink. Maybe you have other issues that a foot wellness expert could advise you on.
Hopefully, one of the tips given here will work for you so that you can enjoy your quad skating more.