How To Recover from Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome
Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is a condition found most often in running athletes where the muscles of a body part swell with exercise. This condition most often affects the lower leg muscles.
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Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is a difficult problem for runners and running athletes. It can keep them from training. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss this common problem and its usual symptoms.
In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I answer the question of a reader who wonders about the risk of continuing to exercise with the condition.
In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I explain basic recovery and return to daily activities and school for a difficult problem in runners – chronic exertional compartment syndrome.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome Injuries
- +What is this injury?
-What is this injury?Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is a condition found most often in running athletes where the muscles of a body part swell with exercise. This condition most often affects the lower leg muscles, but it has been described in the forearm of overhead athletes, like baseball pitchers. The muscles within a compartment swell with exercise, causing the athlete to experience tightness and discomfort until he or she stops exercise. If the condition progresses, numbness, tingling, and even weakness into the foot and toes can occur as the muscle swelling places pressure on the nerves running through the leg.
- +What are the common treatments?
-What are the common treatments?Patients can try physical therapy, taping and other nonsurgical treatments, but these options are often unsuccessful in running athletes. If the patient cannot perform the sports or exercise he or she wants, and if rest and activity modification do not alleviate symptoms, surgery can relieve the symptoms. Surgeons perform a fasciotomy to release the layer of tissue around the muscles and allow the muscles to swell with exercise without causing pressure on the nerves and blood vessels.
- +How long could it take to recover?
-How long could it take to recover?Patients can work with a physical therapist after surgery to regain full strength and function of the lower extremity after surgery to release the fascia. Full recovery and returning to running and other sports can take several months.
- +What should I ask my doctor?
-What should I ask my doctor?It is always a good idea to ask if surgery is necessary and if there are nonsurgical treatment options that can be tried first. If you choose to undergo surgery, understanding what restrictions the surgeon will place after surgery and what you can safely do, such as driving and working, are important. Also ask when you could expect to safely return to your sport or exercise.