The two most common diagnoses associated with shin splints are medial tibial stress syndrome and anterior compartment syndrome. Please see the sections for these for more details. To further read about my dislike of the term 'shin splints', please read on:
Shin splints has no meaning at all other than something to do with shins. I have heard the term shin splints used to describe pain in the 'shin' / ankle / front & back of the shins as well as the inside and outside of the shins. I have also had it suggested to me that I prescribe shin splints.
The number of causes of shin pain is vast and there are so many that it is not possible to list them within this post.
This is a blanket term for all types of shin pain and is the diagnostic equivalent of saying you have a tummy ache or a headache.
Frankly, as a diagnosis, I would say it is as much use as a chocolate teapot