Compartment pressure syndrom can be a serious injury that if not treated can require corrective surgery.
Our Sports Physicians can perform both the tests and provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. If our physicians suspect CPS, the following may occur:
The doctor will conducts a physical examination. He or she checks for tightness and tenderness in the muscle at rest and possibly after exercise.
If compartment syndrome is suspected, a compartment pressure measurement test is done. To perform the test, the doctor inserts a needle into the muscle. A machine attached to the needle gives a compartment pressure reading. The number of times the needle is inserted depends on the location of the symptoms.
The doctor then has the patient run (or perform any activity that recreates the symptoms) and retests the pressures. Compartment testing can be painful, but the discomfort typically goes away once the test is completed.
How is compartment syndrome treated?
Acute compartment syndrome
Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency. Surgery is required with a procedure called a fasciotomy, in which an incision is made into the skin and fascia that covers the affected compartment. When the swelling decreases, the incision will be repaired. Sometimes the incision cannot be closed immediately, so a skin graft may be necessary.
Chronic compartment syndrome
Symptoms may go away when the physical activity that causes the pain comes to an end. Cross-training and low-impact activities are suggested. For some people, symptoms are worse on certain surfaces, so changing surfaces may also help reduce the pain. Physiotherapy, orthotics, and anti-inflammatory medicines may also help.
If these practices do not help, surgery is an option. Doctors use a procedure similar to the fasciotomy surgery that treats acute compartment syndrome, but the incision is much shorter. Surgery for chronic compartment syndrome is not an emergency.