WEYMOUTH forward Ben Joyce has been playing through the pain barrier for the majority of the season.
The 24-year-old has been forced to rest in recent weeks due to a nasty case of shin splints – a painful injury that has had him in agony, both on and off the field, for several months.
Shin splints are caused by repeated trauma to the connective muscle tissue surrounding the tibia and ignoring the problem can lead to a stress fracture or breakage of the bones.
Joyce told Echosport: “I have been playing through it for a while now.
“I first began feeling it near the start of the season when I started having problems with my shins and my calves.
“It then started to get worse and, as a result, I found myself in agony during games.
“I thought I could just play through it and it would go away but it then began affecting me at home too.
“Some nights after a game I could barely walk and it was clear it was getting quite bad.
“When I went and got it looked at, I got told I had fractures in my shins, which I was just making worse.
“It was clear I just needed to rest and that is what I have been doing for the last three weeks.
“I have been out for a few runs just recently and it does feel a little better, so hopefully I can start playing again soon.
“It is one of those injuries where there isn’t much you can do.
“You just have to rest and hope it clears up, and, when it does, be a bit more careful in future.”
The Terras have been ravaged by injuries this campaign and looking at their fixture list, and the lack of depth they have had in their squad all season, it is not hard to see why.
Their last outing at St Albans City on February 8 was their 40th game in all competitions in just 25 weeks, which equates to a match every 4.375 days – a gruelling schedule for any side.
Joyce added: “It’s tough, there is no doubt about that, especially at this time of year with the weather we’ve had.
“We are going to be playing Saturday-Tuesday every week now up until the end of the season and periods like that do take their toll.
“You just don’t get any recovery time and it can cause people to play through injuries, which can then end up getting worse.
“All we can do now is dig in, see what results we can get, and then hopefully start afresh next year and try and get a bigger squad.”
Weymouth’s lack of depth has certainly contributed to their mediocre campaign but Joyce also feels they have not been good enough, particularly against the top teams.
He continued: “This season has been a disappointment. We have under achieved and been very inconsistent.
“We have given away sloppy goals and struggled to break teams down at times, and we certainly haven’t been good enough against the stronger sides.
“As a team, we all feel we should have achieved a lot more, but there is no point in dwelling on that now.
“Instead, we need to go out and pick up as many points as we can, and try and get a bit of consistency going and see where it takes us.
“We can then hopefully build on that and come back stronger next season.”
Joyce is hoping to be fit to feature in this afternoon’s Southern Premier Division clash at Bedford Town (3pm).