In simple terms “shin splints” is the pain you feel on your lower leg, specifically in the lower and on the upper portion of your tibia. Pain starts of as dull in the beginning of the activity and gets worse thereafter. People engaged in activities that involves extensive lower body exercise (e.g. dancers, runners, soccer, basketball players, soldiers under intense military training, etc.)
Shin splints occur because of improper and extreme exercise regimen. Also, when there is a sudden change in exercise routine and schedule of the individual. For instance, when you run a longer distance than what you are used to and when you put in additional time exercising. In addition, running and walking for a long period of time, hyperpronation or the flattening of the arch of the feet and not having the proper shoe support. During exercise your shins is carrying 6 times your normal weight, so sudden changes puts greater burden on shins and overwhelms it. The damages can be naturally healed by your body but because of the shock it cannot respond properly.
For a quick diagnosis, press your fingers on the spots where you feel the pain, when it is along 2 inches or more, it would be best to visit your physician before causing anymore damage. Shin splints are usually cured by the RIICE (i.e. rest, ice, immobile, compression and elevation) method, coupled with anti-inflammatory medicines. ‘Active rest’ involves cutting back on activities that aggravates your leg and taking up swimming for instance, this makes it possible to cure shin splints and helps speed up recovery time. Icing your leg for 10-15 minutes alleviates the pain. Keeping your legs immobile with the help of casts, this is for extreme cases, helps with pain and recovery. Compressing your leg with shin wraps and elevating your leg helps with blood circulation and speeds up the healing process, making it easy to cure shin splints.
Of course, prevention is still the best cure. Try using orthopedic shoes, changing your exercise ground from hard to softer surfaces and pampering yourself with occasional deep tissue massage to untie those tight muscle knots. Still the best prevention is moderation.