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Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome Causes

Exercise or repetitive muscle contraction cause an abnormal level of high tissue pressure within a compartment resulting to chronic exertional compartment syndrome. Enlarged muscles, an especially thick or inelastic fascia, or high pressure within the veins may also other cause the condition. Overusing or overtraining muscles are risks of developing chronic exertional compartment syndrome.

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome Definition

Chronic exertional compartment syndrome that results from too much exercise or overusing the muscles resulting to pain, swelling, and sometimes disability in the affected leg and arm muscles. The condition is also called chronic compartment syndrome or exercise-induced compartment syndrome.

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome Diagnosis

The doctor discusses a patient's present and past medical problems as well as the symptoms and their occurrences, and examines the affected areas. If the patient has chronic exertional compartment syndrome, the doctor notices a muscle bulge or herniation and sometimes swelling or tightness certain muscle areas. The patient also undergoes imaging tests to detect bone, muscle, or blood vessel abnormalities such X-rays, computed tomography, ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound, and specialized magnetic resonance imaging. A compartment pressure measurement test may also be recommended to measure the pressure within the patient's muscle compartments. Abnormally high measurements lead to a diagnosis of the condition.

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome Symptoms and Signs

Affected individuals feel pain while exercising. During exercise, their affected limb feels an intense pressure or fullness, tightness, numbness or tingling, and weakness. Severe cases show signs of footdrop due to damaged nerves of the legs. Patients may also sometimes experience swelling or bulging resulting from a muscle hernia.

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome Treatment

Patients may be prescribed with pain medications, stretching or strengthening regimens, and orthotics. They may also be advised to take a break from exercise, or adopt different biomechanical techniques. However, these options are not usually effective. The most effective treatment for the condition are surgical procedures that involve either cutting open the fascia of each affected compartment or removing part of the fascia.

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