Wilderness First Aid Q&A

What causes rash under shin guards?


Q: Hey, Dr. K! I get a rash under my shin guards every time I play soccer. What can I do to make it go away?

A: Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, but “shin guard dermatitis” is pretty rare. There is some debate if the rash you describe is caused by an allergy to some specific components of the shin guards themselves or from direct irritation to the skin from sweat and friction. It might be a combination of factors!

The rule of thumb — or should I say “rule of shins” — is to try to limit your exposure to the shin guards as much as possible. That means wearing them only during the game and taking them off as quickly as possible. You can even wrap your shin guards in duct tape to make sure that they do not touch your skin. Your doctor might prescribe a topical medication that can help decrease inflammation, but know that the rash could return each time your skin is re-exposed.

Comments about “What causes rash under shin guards?”

  1. Sly Fox says:

    Dirt.

  2. hijack says:

    try an easier solution! try washing the guards

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  • Dr. Andrew C. Krakowski is the host of the boonDOCS Wilderness & Travel Medicine show on Outdoor Channel. He is the founder of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine's wilderness medicine program and currently works in the field of pediatric dermatology at the Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.

    Dr. K loves the outdoors and believes that knowledge, adaptability, and experience are essential for being prepared in the wilderness.

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