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How to prevent shin bang

Physio Phebe gives her tips on the best way to avoid injuries whilst skiing.


How to prevent Shin Bang

If you’ve had shin bang, you know it can certainly ruin your day on the slopes! Shin bang occurs when landing a jump and the force causes your shins to hit the front of your boot, causing shin pain. It happens when there is too much space between the shin and the tongue of your ski boot and from your technique when landing (in the ‘backseat’). It can also build up over the day when skiing from constant movement within the boot, also caused from poor boot fit and technique.

So preventing it sounds pretty obvious then right?
1.    Get boots that fit properly
2.    Sort out your technique and don’t land your jumps in the backseat

I get it though, it’s often not that simple! So these are some more specific points that may help you prevent shin bang.

With your boots

You want to make sure your boot size it right, especially that they are not too long in the foot and they should fit snug around your lower leg so there is no movement inside the boot. Wear ski specific socks that are designed with a lightly padded area over the shins and make sure you always do the strap at the top of the boot up firmly.

If you still have movement in your boot and you’re not ready to buy a new pair of boots, a footbed/orthotic may help to improve your foot alignment to help avoid movement in your boot. There are also other custom additions to boots that you can get to absorb impact and minimise movement, so I recommend getting some more tailored advice from an experienced boot fitter.

For your technique

We know the main cause is landing or skiing in the ‘backseat’, so it’s easy to just say ‘try not to do this’. But realistically, when you are trying new tricks or getting used to new equipment it may sometimes be unavoidable to begin with. So my advice is to try and think ahead in the lead up to the season and work on your core and leg strength and conditioning. This will then make it a lot easier to try and improve your technique during the season, especially if shin bang currently tends to occur more when you are fatigued.

If you’re new to the park and are suffering in silence, then I recommend investing in some park specific lessons or attending some of the beginner sessions held over the season such as Chicks with Stix. Sometimes it’s a simple tip from someone more experienced that can make a world of difference. 

In regards to general skiing, making sure you are sticking to terrain within your skill level as rough terrain, in particular hitting bumps you weren’t prepared for, can increase force through to the shins and contribute to poor ‘backseat’ technique.

If you have it already

If you have shin bang, the first thing to do to decrease the pain is to rest and ice your shins. If you are wanting to head back out, there are products such as PUDZ that are padding you can insert into your boot to assist with the pain and while they are recovering, try and avoid tricks that are new or high risk of you not nailing your landing. 

For more specific advice and help with your shin bang recovery, I recommend seeing one of our physios at the Hotham Medical Centre who are there everyday during the season. You can book your appointment online at www.ovensvalleyphysio.com.au or give them a call on (03) 57 59 3551. 
 

ABOUT PHYSIO PHEBE

"Physio Phebe" is our go-to for injury prevention and management advice for all things snow sports. Based in Bright, she is a director of Ovens Valley Physio & Pilates, who also service Hotham over the season. Following her love of alpine and action sports, Phebe works with Olympic athletes in skiing and mountain biking and is highly sought after to provide physio services to international teams and events.

SEE HER BLOG

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