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Shin splints is a common term used by athletes for pain along the shinbone, although there are actually a few ailments blanketed under this term.
It is most often used to describe the pain caused by muscles in the lower leg pulling on the sheath around the shin, resulting in inflammation. This type of condition is often experienced by runners and jumpers, who repeatedly put strain on the foot and ankle which can result in adverse pronations and muscle tightness.
To help reduce the occurrence of shin splints, make sure you regularly do calf-stretching exercises prior to your main activity, both with the knee straightened and bent.