There are many muscle strains and sports injuries that joggers and runners endure often. Some of these sports injuries keep them from performing their favorite sport for a couple of days, and sometimes weeks. As frustrating as it is, the recovery time is not very long, and most find a way to sneak in a short jog or run until they become fully fit again.

A stress fracture is more serious and takes about six weeks to heal. Shin splints are a problem because they can take longer to recover and heal from than a stress fracture, and the shin splints come back over and over. Some runners have problems with shin splints for years.

Shin splints are a condition that affects a tendon inside the shin, below and on the back side of the knee. Tibial tendonitis can affect the tibial tendon, which is found around the middle of the shin down and around to the back side of the ankle. The inflammation of the tendon can occur anywhere along the tendon, but it usually happens in the anterior tibial tendon.

The symptoms of shin splints are a painful inflammation around the tendon. This is usually noticed in a six to nine-inch area below the knee on the outer part of the shin. One will notice swelling, and the pain flares up during or right after the exercise is performed.

The exact nature of shin splints is still speculated by many, with the disagreement on the causes of the symptoms. Some people feel shin splints trigger by a bone lining strain, and others believe it is in compartment syndrome. The problem is really a common list of symptoms cause by several traumas to the shins.

The recovery time with shin splints is as little as a couple of weeks to as long as a couple of months. Some severe cases of shin splints might require rehab that lasts up to several months.

Shin splints are usually attributed to overuse; however, in some cases, shin splints have an underlying factor. Gait irregularities can place stress and strain on the shins. For a runner with flat feet or fallen arches, extra care is needed. Sometimes, just a general weakness in the in the muscles of the shin are the cause, although in most cases, it is a lack of stretching the shin tendon that causes problems.

Some of the best preventative steps for shin splints are addressing the gait and foot irregularity problems and always stretching before and after training. Having a top quality running shoe is a wise choice because it helps prevent the shin splints. Always start off slow, and gradually increase the duration, intensity and frequency of exercises to give the body the time it needs to adjust.

With shin splints being so tough on runners, it pays to take some preventative steps to keep the shin splints away.