Shin splints are an inflammation of the tendon on the front of the leg and they can lead to major pain/problems. Ice and ibuprofen are necessary to get the inflammation down. You may need to take a few days off from running until the pain begins to subside. Running through the pain of shin splints only makes them worse, so take the pain seriously.
The cause of shin splints can be attributed to a few different factors.
ONE: Pronation of the foot. This causes the foot to collapse, which puts added stress on that tendon and causes the inflammation/pain. You must go to a good running shoe store and get fit for a shoe that is built for your type of foot.
TWO: Tight calves/Achilles/tibialis anterior. If your muscles surrounding the tendon are tight, there’s synergistic compensation happening, which means smaller muscles are compensating for the larger, mover muscles during runs. As a result, muscles become imbalanced and add stress on the tendon causing the shin splints. You must diligently stretch/roll these muscles 2-3 times a day in order to get proper muscular activation while running.
THREE: Weak ankles. If your ankles are weak and unstable, this causes the foot/ankle to collapse, which adds stress to the front of the shin. You must incorporate ankle strengthening into your training. This is accomplished through trail running or balancing in an unstable environment. For example, stand on one leg (no shoes) for 30 seconds and repeat 3-4 times per leg. As your ankle gets stronger you can use gym equipment such as a Bosu Ball/half foam roll.
Information provided by Jim Lubinski
You can follow him on Twitter @JimLubinski