HI, I am a 22 yr old female and i have been diagnosed with Compartment
Syndrome(caused by running) in my left leg. I am told that it is quite
severe and need surgery. I have been admitted to the hospital twice for
this problem, and am wondering what is Compartment syndrome? I know it
involves the swelling of the legs in the different compartments of the
leg but I don't have a clear picture of it. I have also read that this
problem is minor, but my doctors treat is as a severe problem ( ie
rushing me to the hospital, and trying to get me to have surgery), Is my
doctor overreacting or is this a severe problem? (fyi, on a flare up it
can take up to 2 weeks for the swelling to go down, but my legs always
swell and get rock hard, if I run, they feel I am moving two stone
pillars,) What exercises can I do to not aggrevate this problem and
still be able to workout? I am used to running 4 miles 5 days a week,
Also will weightlifting put to much pressure on my legs?
Lisa, compartment syndrome is a very severe problem. The risk you run is tissue death within the compartment (ischemic or avascular necrosis). As you point out, the lower leg is compartmentalized, and each compartment has contents that should operate and slide within the compartment with blood flow available to the compartment - ie arterial blood entering, and venous blood departing. The problem occurs when the muscles expand as they are exercised, but the compartment does not expand (connective tissue restriction), leading to reduced or absent blood flow to the compartment. Physicians measure the problem with a blood dopler device. This gives them information about the amount of blood flowing into and out of the limb. In the event that there is none, or very little, you have a serious problem, and I would strongly suggest that you follow the advice of your physicians, and have the surgery.
The surgery involves a release of the fascia, allowing more room in the compartment, and as a result, more blood flow.
Please keep me posted.