To help prevent shin splints, engage in a pre-activity warm-up that includes foam rolling, stretching, and light activity that increases heart rate.
There are a number of reasons as to why an individual suffers from shin splints. Shin splints can affect people who take up a new activity, such as jogging, sprinting, or playing sports that require quick starts and stops. The body is unfamiliar to new forces and these can place a heavy strain on the muscle that is located on the front side of the lower leg (anterior tibialis). Running downhill can place an even greater demand on the lower leg muscles as they struggle to keep the foot from slapping down.
Shin splints can also be caused by muscle imbalances in the leg and foot. A muscle imbalance can be in the form of a tight calf muscles versus a weak tibialis muscle. Imbalances in foot alignment, such as having flat or falling arches can also cause shin splints.
Before starting an activity, start with foam rolling muscles such as the calf, the muscles to the sides of the shins (anterior tibialis), the hamstrings, and the quads. This can help soften any existing knots. Purchase any full sized, round foam roller to start with. Next, stretch the muscles of the leg. Stretching can help lengthen tight muscles and increase range of motion in individuals who exhibit muscle imbalances. Finally, perform 1 set, 10 repetitions of 3-10 bodyweight exercises that take the joints through their full available range of motion. Examples of exercises to perform are squats with toe raises, lunges, arm circles, and/or jumping jacks.
Finally, take the time to slowly progress the intensity level of any new activity. Start new activities slowly and be mindful of performing movements with control. Over time, the body should be able to handle more intense activity with much more ease.