Eliminating Shin Pad Irritation

shin pad irritationWhether I’m playing street hockey or ice hockey, my shin pads are two pieces of equipment that I can’t afford to go without.  Every now and then, I’ll leave them in my street hockey bag (when I’m just shooting around with friends), but for the most part, they’re just essential.  Ever blocked a shot without shin guards on?  Know how that feels?  No?  Good – me either.  I prefer to keep it that way.

Keeping it that way has always been the priority, obviously.  I would never trade my shin pads for less safety – no matter how annoying they may be.  For a long while, actually, I did find my shin pads to be quite the annoyance.  Irritating.  Floppy.  Even hindering.  If this is a problem for you, or ever has been, these are some simple steps that you can take to eliminate some of the annoyances.

1.  Wear a layer between the shin pads and your bare legs.

Irritation can be the most lasting of the annoyances that I mentioned.  If you’ve ever worn your shin pads, or any piece of equipment, for that matter, directly on your bare skin, chances are that you know what I’m talking about.  There’s sweating, there’s shifting, there are fibers – it’s all a recipe for a nasty rash or irritation.  You don’t want that, especially if you play a lot of hockey.

To combat this, simply wear a layer between your bare skin and your equipment.  Whether it’s a full-leg jockstrap or a pair of long underwear, there are countless options.  If you’re playing roller hockey, you can just use sweatpants or even your inline pants.  As long as there’s a layer there, most of the shifting and sweating shouldn’t cause much irritation to the skin.

2.  Use tape to secure your shin pads in place.

You always want to make sure that your pads are secure, especially those that are protecting your shins.  One way to do this, apart from a nice, tight sock, is by using hockey tape.  Most people prefer clear tape, but you can use anything really – even duct tape (which I’ve seen many times).  While there are straps on shin pads to hold them in place, most rely on velcro and can easily become unattached in the hustle and bustle of a game or practice.  Tape, on the other hand, tends to do the trick.  At worst, it’s reinforcement – positive, no doubt.

A secure shin pad is important for a few reasons.  First, we go back to the whole irritation thing.  The less it’s moving around, the less of a chance there is that it’s going to irritate your skin.  Secondly, as I’ve made clear already, the shin isn’t exactly the part of your body that you want exposed when a someone takes a clapper from the point.  In security, we find blocked shots to be far less painful.  Additionally, a floppy shin guard is downright annoying.  It can be an unexpected obstacle in any rush and a hinderance to a player trying to pick up some speed.


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