"Shin splints" (i.e. Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) is the general term for pain at the front of the lower leg. "Shin splints" is not the diagnosis but a description of symptoms, of which there could be a number of causes. The most common cause is inflammation of the outer lining of the lower leg bone (i.e. tibia).
Traction and pulling forces from the muscles of the lower leg on the periostium can cause shin pain and inflammation.
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