You have just started your stay at the resort, and you joyfully ski down your first slopes. But quickly, A nasty pain in your shin puts an end to your enchantment... You are probably Suffering from shin splints, like many skiers. But don't panic! Here is everything you need to know about the causes of shin pain in ski boots, and the solutions to fully enjoy your descents !

Where do shin pains come from when skiing ?

Shin pain while skiing mainly comes from repeated micro-traumas on the front part of the leg. It can result from the appearance of a blister or bruising on the shin, or even from shin splints.

A tibial periostitis is an inflammation of the periosteum, which is the tissue covering the surface of the tibia bone. It is often caused by repetitive stress or overuse of the lower leg, and commonly affects athletes or individuals who engage in activities that involve running or jumping. Symptoms may include pain, tenderness, and swelling along the shinbone. ?

Tibial periostitis is an injury to the superficial part of the tibia bone: The excessive tension of the muscles inserted on the bone's envelope leads to inflammation of the fascia of the tibial crest.

Pain usually occurs while skiing, on the lower part of your shin.

Pain in the shin can also manifest after skiing, in the same area.

Causes and solutions for shin splints

1st place on the ranking of causes: the ski boot tongue:

In general, shin pain while skiing, whether it's just a blister or more seriously a shin splint, is due to The difference in inclination between the tongue of your ski boot and your leg. The space between the two is therefore too large. The pressure is accentuated on the top of the shoe instead of being evenly distributed, and the leg will tend to hit the top of the ski boot.

✅The importance of Velcro straps: This small strap located at the top of the shoe is very convenient for pressing the tongue against the shin. Some shoe models do not have them, but it is possible to buy them separately to add to your gear.

Shin pain can ruin your ski outings. Fortunately, there are simple and inexpensive solutions available.
Photo credit Yann Borgnet.

Your ski boots are not tightened properly

It can never be said enough: Tightening ski boots is essential to prevent injuries! If it is not done optimally, the foot either floats in the shoe or, on the contrary, is compressed. This leads to rubbing and pressure points.

✅ How to properly tie your shoes:

The adjustment of your shoes must be done "Debout" translates to "standing" in English. in order to have a position and inclination as close as possible to the ones you have when skiing. Then, you should follow the steps in the following order:

  1. Bring the tab against the shin and tighten the strap.
  2. Close the brackets from bottom to top, giving each of them your attention.
    About the hooks on your foot: Apply minimal tension. Do not compress the foot. Tighten just enough to apply tension to the hooks.
    On the tibia's hooks, You can apply a higher voltage. Tighten it enough for you to feel it. maintenu.e. But without causing any pain or discomfort. On some shoe models, you can adjust the rail that will receive the fastening hook. This is very useful in the case of a "strong" calf.
  3. Once the top hook is closed, adjust the strap tightness again if necessary.
  4. If you feel discomfort, use the micrometric settings on the hooks to adjust until the constraint disappears.
  5. Lean forward to check that your heel does not lift off and that your calf is not pinched. The pressure should be even on the entire foot, and not compressive.

The adjustment of your shoes should be progressive, adjusted throughout the day based on how you feel: Your foot will adapt to the shoe, the insole may compress slightly, temperatures will change and slightly modify the stiffness of your shoes... These are all elements that make it essential to adjust the settings of your shoes in order to prevent pain from setting in.

Finally, Do not hesitate to relieve your feet during ski lifts., Coffee or lunch breaks by loosening all of the hooks.

Your ski boots are too big.

If, despite all the care taken in tightening your ski boots, you still do not achieve an effective and comfortable support for your feet, It is very likely that they are too big. But be careful, we are not just talking about shoe size here !

It is also necessary to take into account the shoe volume, measured by the "fit". Because the width of your foot and the volume of your calf should also be taken into account when choosing your ski boots.

✅How to properly measure your foot ?

  • For the shoe size, in other words the length of your foot:
    • Place a sheet of paper on the floor, against a wall
    • Place your foot on it, making sure to press your heel against the wall as well.
    • Apply pressure to the ground so that your foot "crushes"
    • Draw a line at the level of your longest toe.
  • For the fit, in other words the width of your foot:
    • After measuring the length of your foot on the sheet, now draw a line on each side of your foot, where it is the widest.
    • Measure with a meter the distance between the edge of the sheet and the length marker, then the distance between the two width markers.

Thanks to this information, a professional will be able to guide you towards the right shoe size by converting the length measurement into Mondopoint (the unit of measurement used for ski boots) and selecting the fit that is suitable for your foot (and also for your skill level): Between 92 and 97 mm, you have narrow feet, between 97 and 102 mm, you have medium-width feet, and beyond that, you have wide feet.

✅How to gain some space by changing the insole ?

However, if your ski boots only seem slightly too big, it is possible to avoid buying a new pair right away.
Indeed, by inserting volume-reducing insoles, you can easily gain half a shoe size. They simply go under the insole to slightly reduce the volume of the shoe fit.

Here, a shin guard sock in its natural habitat: on the human shin.

The flex of your ski boot is not suitable.

Flex is the degree of rigidity of the ski boot. It is generally between 60 and 140. The higher the flex, the stiffer the shoe.
It is your level of practice (but also your body size) that determines whether you need a softer or firmer flex. This parameter is all the more important as it ensures both performance and comfort.

✅How to choose the flex of ski boots

  • Beginner to intermediate skiers, or lightweight individuals, will prefer flex ratings between 60 and 90 for women, and between 70 and 90 for men, as they require less effort.
  • Experienced skiers and those with strong builds will be more comfortable with flex ratings ranging from 90 to 110 for women and 90 to 120 for men.
  • High-level skiers will choose flex ratings between 110 and 130, while competitors will opt for flex ratings up to 140.

But be careful, these indications are not a generality because the choice of the index also depends on the type of shoe and the activity: For freeride or freestyle, a flex rating of 110 is frequently used. It is also possible to encounter differences in stiffness for the same rating depending on the brand.

This choice must therefore receive all your attention in order to avoid turning your descents into torture! For example, with a flex that is too rigid, you won't escape shin pain !

The insole of your shoe is in bad condition

The shells of your ski boots can withstand almost anything, but the internal components of your boots, which are made of softer and less rigid materials, are not as durable !
For example, The insole may, over time, tend to compress. It no longer plays its original protective role. The impacts and friction are less well cushioned.
Shin pain while skiing can also simply come from there !

✅Buy a new shoe / or a new slipper

It is the condition of the outer shell of your ski boots that will determine whether you need to buy a new pair of boots or simply replace the liners.
If you only notice wear on the inside, you will quickly find satisfaction after replacing your old slippers !

Your clothes are a source of friction.

We think about it much less often than other things, but the textiles that cover our legs can also cause friction.
Today, specialists offer a wide range of ski equipment tailored for comfort and breathability.

✅ Socks:

Avoid wearing socks that are too thick, as they may not necessarily be warmer than thinner socks specifically designed for skiing. Opt for reinforced models without seams in sensitive areas, especially around the shin. Also, select a model made of... materials which correctly evacuates moisture because it worsens the phenomenon of friction.

✅Thermal underwear:

Opt for a 3/4 length model that stops below the knee, or pull up your tights above your shoe instead. The fabric inside the shoe can create folds after a few descents and cause rubbing.

✅The ski pants:

Make sure it is well above your shoe. Placed inside, not only would friction be inevitable, but your shoes would also be improperly adjusted. And we all know what "improper adjustments" lead to...

Ski Gel Guards: A Functional and Cost-Effective Solution

Of course, all the advice we have just given you is very important to avoid pain, bruises, and blisters while skiing !
But there is a safe and inexpensive solution. : Gel shin guards. You will find them directly inserted in the socks with the GelProtech Ski pack. No shoe change is required !

You will have understood that shocks, friction, and pressure will be directly absorbed by these protections. One can never be too careful.

✅ There are two versions of the GelProtech model:

  • Classic: A mix of polyamide and polyester.
  • Wool: 50% wool to keep you warmer.

Our ambassador William Cochet will tell you: GelProTech is an effective and inexpensive solution to relieve shin pain while skiing !
Photo credit: William Cochet

How to relieve shin pain

Is the damage already done and has shin splints set in ?
Here's how to relieve your shin pain so you can enjoy your ski trip without any issues:

  • Apply ice for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 times a day.
  • In case of intense pain, apply an anti-inflammatory cream (if there is no injury).

Follow the advice you just read for your next sliding sessions !