The full name for shin splints is 'Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome' which simply defines the condition as a syndrome in which stress, over time, has caused an injury to the medial (inside) part of the tibia (lower leg). It is very common in athletes who pound the legs - runners, sprinters, figure skaters, gymnasts, etc. It is a typical overuse injury. It does not occur over night but over a period of time during which the athlete has been pounding the legs. This is one of he reasons why proper footwear is essential for anyone involved with running.
The pain associated with shin splints is thought to correspond to the area where the Soleus muscle of the calf attaches to the shin bone, or tibia. The majority of the muscles attach to the back of the tibia. If you put your fingers on the front of the tibia, right on the bony ridge where you don't have any padding, and then roll inwards and you'll be able to almost feel behind the tibia. There's a bit of a 'shelf' on the medial side of the tibia. This is where we usually find the sore spots associated with shin splints so if you poke around behind the ridge of the tibia you'd often hit some real hot spots.
It should be obvious that if we can decrease the pounding forces through the leg we can decrease the likelihood of injury. You may be overdue for new shoes because proper footwear is essential. Sometimes orthotics are beneficial to correct faulty foot mechanics.
Dr. Youdeem can evaluate your condition and make specific recommendation to help you recover faster. He can also cast your foot for customized foot orthotics to correct the mechanics of your lower body.