Compartment syndrome


Compartment syndrome is a rise in internal pressure in a muscle that limits blood flow and produces pain. It may be dangerous and require immediate medical attention if it occurs unexpectedly.

Make sure you don't have compartment syndrome.

Any muscle can develop compartment syndrome, but the lower legs and forearms are where it manifests itself most frequently.

Some signs are:

  • Moving the affected body part might exacerbate the discomfort in a muscle, which may seem like a scorching sensation or a deep ache.
  • Muscle enlargement or bulge, numbness, paralysis, or pins-and-needles, tightness, or trouble moving the afflicted body part
  • When an injury occurs or a plaster cast or bandage is overly tight, the symptoms may appear suddenly. Acute compartment syndrome is what we term this.

After exercising, symptoms may also gradually worsen until disappearing after some rest. The term for this is chronic compartment syndrome.

Compartment syndrome tests

Your GP can refer you to a specialist for testing if they suspect compartment syndrome.

You might have tests like:

  • MRI scans when you're resting and exercising compartment pressure measurement, which involves inserting a needle into a muscle before and after exercise to measure the pressure inside it. An X-ray to see whether you have broken a bone.
  • It is typically only advised to measure the pressure within a muscle if your symptoms and the findings of other tests point to compartment syndrome.

Medications used in the treatment of compartment syndrome

The treatment for compartment syndrome is different depending on whether the symptoms appear all of a sudden or develop over time.

Sudden (acute) compartment syndrome

If you suddenly develop compartment syndrome, you will require surgery as quickly as possible to alleviate the pressure that has built up in the affected muscle.

A fasciotomy is the name given to this particular kind of surgical procedure. In order to reduce the amount of pressure being applied to the muscle, the surgeon will perform a fasciotomy.

When treating wounds, it is often necessary to harvest skin from another region of the body and utilize it to cover the affected area. This procedure is referred to as a skin graft.

You will be provided with medication to help ease any discomfort that you experience after the operation. It is possible that you will also require physiotherapy in order to assist you in regaining complete movement in the affected region of your body.

Progressive and ongoing cases of compartment syndrome

When compartment syndrome is gradual in onset, medical intervention is typically not required.

You can try the following things to assist relieve your symptoms:

If you run a lot, switching to a low-impact exercise like cycling may assist, or you can try taking anti-inflammatory medicines to help minimize the pain and discomfort. Avoid doing the activity that caused the problem in the first place.

If you decide to start jogging again, you should consult a physiotherapist about getting orthotics, which are shoe inserts.

After trying these several methods, if your symptoms do not improve, you might want to consider having surgery done. The procedure is quite comparable to the one that is used to treat acute compartment syndrome.

How shoes can influence on prevention?

The development of compartment syndrome in the lower leg or foot can be exacerbated by the wearing of shoes that are either too tight or too uncomfortable and that place pressure on the foot or ankle. This is due to the fact that the pressure from the shoes can cause the muscles and tissues in the affected area to expand, which then leads to an increase in pressure within the muscle compartment itself.

Choosing shoes that are not only comfortable but also have a good fit and provide adequate support might help cut down on the likelihood of developing compartment syndrome. Experts recommend wearing DrLuigi medical shoes. The use of footwear that is appropriate can help to alleviate the pressure that is being placed on the feet and lower legs, which in turn can aid in the prevention of compartment syndrome.

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