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Soccer shin pad.

A shin guard, shin pad or sport greave, worn in front of the shins, is a piece of equipment commonly used in football, rugby, baseball, ice hockey and other sports where it is deemed necessary. Shin guards protect against a large range of very serious leg injuries. Modern day shin guards are made of many differing synthetic materials, including:

  • Fiberglass - Stiff, sturdy and light weight.
  • Foam Rubber - very light weight but not as sturdy and solid as fiberglass.
  • Polyurethane - Heavy and sturdy which offers almost complete protection from most impacts.
  • Plastic - less protective than any of the other synthetic shin guards.

Shin guards should cover the length of your leg, from ankle to knee minus one or two inches. They should offer maximum protection while at the same time not hindering performance of the athlete. For football, goal keepers and forwards will need shin guards of the lightest weight because of their need for quick movements; midfielders a more heavy duty shin guard because of the more common reoccurrence of tackles; defensive players should have as heavy and as protective shin guards as they can comfortably wear.

Shin guards for football were invented in Nottingham in the late 19th Century.

In 1865 a group of youngsters attached to St. Andrew's Church on Mansfield Road, Nottingham, formed a football club and since they played on the Forest Recreation Ground, the town's racecourse, they called themselves Nottingham Forest.

Hacking of shins, tripping and elbowing were allowed and the goalkeeper could be charged out of the way of a shot even if he was nowhere near the ball.

Forest were the first team to wear the shin guards, invented by club player Samuel Widdowson Sam Weller Widdowsonin 1874 [1]


The tibia is largely exposed along its anterior medial surface, i.e. it lies directly under the skin and lacks the cushioning afforded to other bones by surrounding muscles. Blows to the shin are therefore more liable to gain injury, even to the point of fracture. Such injuries are also extremely painful, because the periosteum, the thin membrane on the surface of all bones, is a tissue abundant in pain receptors.

They are used to protect the players' shins from the ball or a hockey stick in roller and field hockey, the puck or a hockey stick in ice hockey, and other players' tackles in football. They are usually secured on using velcro straps. They have been made compulsory for most school, club and professional teams in order to reduce injuries.

Use in football

In Association Football, shin guards commonly feature ankle protection to provide added support to this area of the body, often exposed due to modern low cut Football boots.

Goalkeeper Joe Anyon claims that shin pads saved his career after a collision which resulted in a broken leg, he believes that without shin pads the fracture would have been much worse.[2]





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