Compartment syndrome is a condition in which elevated intramuscular pressure reduces local blood flow and impairs function of the tissues within that compartment. The local tissue ischemia produces pain and tissue dysfunction that persists until the pressure within the compartment is normalized. Symptoms reverse once the local blood flow corresponds to the demands for nutrition and viability of the tissues. Two forms of compartment syndrome exist: acute compartment syndrome and chronic compartment syndrome.
Chronic compartment syndrome – This syndrome is the result of the compression of nerves and blood vessels, by hypertrophy of the muscles and is more frequently seen in lower legs.The athlete will report pain that starts a few minutes after beginning activity with occasional tingling or numbness in the leg or foot. The pain goes away with rest. The physician has to rule out Shin Splint, Stress Fracture and Nerve injury as possible causes of the symptoms. To diagnose this syndrome we need to do Pressure Studies before and after activity. In the presence of a Chronic Compartmental Syndrome, the pressure in the muscle compartment will stay higher than normal after 5 minutes of rest, post activity. The treatment is surgical, by releasing the fascia around the muscles.