Shin splints is used to describe the pain and inflammation of the tendons, muscles and bone tissue around the tibia or shin bone (a large bone in the lower leg). It occurs as a result of vigorous physical activity such as exercise or sports. The condition is also referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). The common cause of shin splints is overuse of muscles and bone tissue of the tibia because of repetitive sports activity and a sudden change in the physical activity level. The other causes of shin splints include stress fractures, tendonitis, and chronic exertional compartment syndrome.