Shin splints is a term used for overuse syndromes involving the lower leg muscles that move the ankle and foot. This is a generic term which can refer to tears of muscle, fibrosis/scar tissue in muscle, avulsions and stress fracture/reaction.
Shin splints are divided into two types: anterior and posterior. Anterior shin splints usually involve the tibialis anterior muscle, but may include any of the extensor digitorum longus muscles. Anterior shin splints are usually due to a running gait flaw. Posterior shin splints usually involve tibialis posterior, but may include flexor hallicus and digitorum longus. Typically posterior shin splints are the result of overuse.
Both varieties of shin splints respond very favorably to Active Release Technique, kinesiology taping, stretching and strengthening exercises. A multi-faceted approach is usually the most efficacious approach.