conditions we treat

compartment syndrome

Compartment syndrome usually affects either the lower leg or the forearm.

These areas of the body are broken up into compartments by fascia and each compartment contains muscles, nerves, and arteries.

Pressure inside one of these compartments rises, causing inadequate blood flow, or nerve compression—and in some cases can be a limb-threatening emergency.

If the pain is severe, see a physician immediately.

Symptons of compartment syndrome may include:

  • Aching, burning, or cramping in the affected limb
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Weakness of the affected limb
  • Swelling in the affected limb
  • Sudden, severe pain

If the pain is not severe and only occurs during exercise, treatment may include.

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What is acute compartment syndrome?

Acute compartment syndrome is a sudden and dramatic increase in the pressure of a compartment. The dramatic rise in pressure causes severe pain and compression of nerves and arteries.  

Acute compartment syndrome can be a limb-threatening emergency and in severe cases needs to be corrected by surgically releasing the fascia that borders the compartment.

What is Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (CECS)?

CECS is a chronic, non-emergency type of compartment syndrome that occurs when exercise increases the pressure inside a compartment and causes symptoms.  

CECS usually follows this pattern:

  • begins soon after (within 30 minutes) of starting exercise
  • progressively worsens if you continue
  • stops within 30 minutes of ending exercise

CECS often goes away if an athlete stops their aggravating activity but usually comes back no matter how long of a break an athlete takes.

Some cases of CECS will require a surgery called a fasciotomy where a small incision is cut in the fascia to relieve pressure. Depending on your condition, your sports chiropractor may prescribe a more conservative treatment approach, including deep tissue massage and additional specialized, less invasive techniques addressing the musculoskeletal system.

If you are experiencing symptoms of compartment syndrome, it’s important to receive a thorough evaluation from a sports chiropractic physician to rule out other causes of pain such as medial tibial stress syndrome or other conditions in the lower leg.

 

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