I just started walking again in the mall. The other day, I kept getting sharp pains in the front of my leg in the shin area. After I stretched it out a few times it quit, but I have experienced this pain several times since. What causes this?
New walkers often experience shin pain and stretching is most often the solution. Your calf muscles (calves) are stronger than the your shin muscles, and as you walk they tighten and “pull” on the shin area, causing shin splints.
If stretching helps, then you probably don’t have any kind of fracture in the area, but if the pain persists, check with your doctor. You can also ice the area after your walk to reduce any swelling that may have occurred.
As far as prevention goes, try to stretch before and after you walk and don’t go too fast too soon. As you develop your muscles in a more balanced way, the shin splints should subside.
Also, make sure the shoe you are wearing is not too heavy or too stiff; that can also contribute to stress on your muscles, which could lead to shin splints.