Shin splints are characterized by pain and tenderness at or near the large lower leg bone called the tibia. They occur when the muscles, tendons or other nearby tissue become inflamed as a result of exercise or other strenuous activity.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers this list of major risk factors for shin splints:
Having very firm arches or flat feet.
Frequent running or jogging.
Undergoing military training.
Sudden changes in your exercise routine, such as exercising longer or with greater intensity.
Health Tip: Keeping Workouts Fun
Hitting the gym on a regular schedule is a big commitment with big payoffs. But after a while, the same old routine can become boring.
The American Council on Exercise offers these suggestions to keep a workout from getting stale:
Make a small change to your normal workout. For example, run or walk outside instead of inside.
Try a new sport or activity. Learn to play a new game or take a class that teaches you a whole new way to keep fit.
Work out with friends.
Keep challenging yourself with new heights and new goals, such as running longer or faster, or swimming more laps.
Make sure you vary your workouts; try a lot of different exercises.
Treat yourself to a music player, pedometer or a new type of workout equipment.
Allow yourself a bit of time off. But always get back to exercising after a little rest.