Compartment Syndrome: Definition, Symptoms And Treatment
Compartment Syndrome: Definition, Symptoms And Treatment

Compartment Syndrome: Definition, Symptoms And Treatment

Compartment syndrome is mainly seen in the calves and forearms. It consists of an abnormal increase in the pressure exerted on the internal tissues of the muscular compartments.

Everything You Need To Know About Compartment Syndrome

1. What it is: There are two distinct types of compartment syndrome - the first occurring after an injury and requiring emergency management and the second being known as chronic compartment syndrome which occurs due to too much stress on the muscle. The latter is common among athletes, especially in endurance sports.

2. Symptoms: Compartment syndrome has the following characteristic symptoms:

- Intense pain in the affected area

- Swelling of the area

- Hardened muscle which is painful when pressure is applied

- Numbness and tingling

3. Cause: Acute compartment syndrome usually occurs following an injury such as leg bone fracture, muscle tear, muscle compression or vein thrombosis. It can also be caused by a bandage or a cast that is too tight. Chronic compartment syndrome mainly affects athletes who overwork their muscles (running, walking ...) or develop them too quickly (intense bodybuilding).

4. Treatment: There is no specialized medication for compartment syndrome. However, painkillers or ice can be used to ease the pain. The treatment of acute compartment syndrome involves an intervention called endoscopic fasciotomy. This is an opening of the fascia to relieve the pressure. The muscle is then closed once it is back to a normal size. The operation must take place urgently, because beyond four hours the muscle can become infected and need amputation. In cases of chronic compartment syndrome, it is recommended to stop all sports activity and resume gently once the pain has passed.

By Will Armstrong
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