No matter where you’re from or what you do for a living, you’ve probably heard that exercise is good for you. If you’re an athlete yourself, you’re already well aware of how fulfilling an active lifestyle can be.
That being said, along with the benefits of better cardiovascular health and maintaining a healthy body weight, there’s always the risk of injury. One of those risks is Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome.
What is Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome?
Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome is a chronic condition that causes pain and swelling of the arms or legs. Symptoms begin gradually and get progressively worse as you exercise. Once you stop exerting yourself, the pain decreases until it stops several minutes after you’re done exercising.
Causes of Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome
Underneath the skin, there’s connective tissue called fascia. It looks like a thin sheath that surrounds your muscles. As you exercise, muscles expand and contract. However, in rare instances, the fascia won’t expand along with the muscle, which causes pressure on that muscle.
Symptoms of Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome
The symptoms of Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome are hard to ignore. They include:
- Swelling of muscles
- Burning sensation in the affected limbs
- Numbness or tingling
- Body aches
- Weakness of the limbs
- Loss of sensation
- Difficulty moving your feet
- Bulge in the affected muscle
Diagnosing Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome
Since the symptoms of Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome are very similar to those of other conditions, your doctor will conduct an examination to either confirm or rule out other ailments.
Your doctor may also order an MRI as well as pressure testing to see if you’re suffering from any stress fractures.
Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome Treatment
Once you have a diagnosis, treatment options include:
- Physical therapy
- Sports massages
- Gait test to help determine whether you require running shoes with additional support
If none of the conservative treatment options help to alleviate the pain, doctors may consider surgery as a last resort. The procedure involved here is known as a fasciotomy and it’s done to release the pressure of the fascia, on your muscles.
Complications of Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome
Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome is painful and frustrating, but it’s not life-threatening, nor does it have any serious complications. However, you should seek medical attention to prevent the condition from interfering with your daily activities and sport of choice.
Risk Factors for Developing Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome
Exercise-Induced Compartment Syndrome is more likely to happen to:
- People who engage in repetitive activities, such as swimming or running
- Athletes who don’t take rest days to allow their muscles to recover properly
- People who are younger than 30 years of age
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At the Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort during exercise, let us help you.