23 February

Shin Splints or Not? How I Beat Them

When I eventually plucked up the courage to start skating I never thought it would be pain that would hold me back. I am a big lass and wrongly thought it would be my complete lack of fitness and size that would slow me down.

As soon as I started roller derby I was bitten by the derby bug and have never found an exercise that I have ever enjoyed, never mind fell in love with! It started almost instantly… the pain, oh the pain! My partner used to run daily and instantly said “sounds like you’ve got shin splints”. The pain was up the fronts of my shins and a good stretch managed to right itself. Problem sorted I thought, how wrong was I?

I graduated to intermediate level and of course, the session intensity was increased. This time the pain wasn’t up the front it was in the lower right leg. Warm ups and lots of steppy stuff tended to start it off, the pain becoming so bad it was immobilising as my leg was stiff and I couldn’t bear weight and this was happening every session.

I felt so inadequate and alone as no one else appeared to suffer. It really knocked my confidence and many times I was close to leaving, trying to hold back the tears on the drive home from practice.

I decided, I can combat this! I want to be a good skater! I began to share my anguish with my team and I was so wrong to assume others weren’t or hadn’t suffered too. I was shocked to hear the similar stories and knew I had their support all the way. I even made friends in facebook groups in my search for a cure.

I have since tried a multitude of things, physio tape strapping, insoles, potassium and magnesium supplements plus a couple of others. We are very lucky that we have two doctors that skate with us… yes I said doctors and they are diamonds too! One suggested I take myself off to see my GP. I did this and was prescribed Quinine for severe cramp. It’s not for everyone but it has worked for me. I went to physio and they gave me some exercises too. With all in use together I now rarely get this pain. I’m not sure if it ever was shin splints, or cramp, or anything else but all I know it’s not causing me any issues any more.

As soon as the pain subsided I was able to showcase my true skills and my skating career is blossoming. In the space of around six weeks I graduated to advanced, was voted in as B team captain and even made A squad for bout selection. Next goal… make the A team!

Thanks goes out to my league and its members who supported me through dark times. Especially my derby wife Pam Boozle.

Never give up! Commitment was my cure. McKitten #75


McKitten blocking a Hells Belles jammer at a recent scrim.