I am a 42 year old male and I think I might have anterior compartment syndrome.
I am a marathon runner and have typically run 50 - 70 miles per week.
As far as I can tell the problem came on when I did an 18 mile run at my fastest
pace of the year, followed two days later with an interval workout (6 x .5
mile). I felt fine during the intervals, but later in the day my left shin was
sore. The next day I had to stop running because of the pain after only going
about a half mile. That was one week ago.
The pain is in the muscle that runs along the front of my left leg, immediately
adjacent to the tibia. It doesn't really hurt when I am not exerting myself,
although it can feel a little sore. When I run, the pain comes on rather
abruptly and stops as soon as I stop running. I have always stopped as soon as
I feel it. I have also noticed some pain while bicycling and using a stair
I am wondering if I need to see a sports medicine doctor, or if I can care for
this myself. In the last three days I have done two 3 mile runs without any
pain, which I take as a positive sign, but I am concerned that it will start
hurting again if I try to go farther. What do you think?
Joe: It sounds like you have shin splints (posterior tibial tendonitis) rather
than compartment syndrome. Whereas both hurt in the same place, one (compartment
syndrome) is much, much more severe than shin splints. The etiology is somewhat
different with shin splints being an overuse syndrome, and compartment syndrome
being a much more serious compression of soft tissues in the myofascial sheath
of the leg. In that case, the muscle eventually dies due to ischemic
compression, and requires surgery to relieve it. Since your pain is associated
with use, and since it came on after a few days of intense training, it most
likely falls into the overuse category.
Treat your shin with ice massage, and cross train doing something that does not
bother you - like cycling for a few days to help your leg recover. Start back to
running slowly, and lets see how things develop. If your leg stays sore, gets
worse, or becomes constant, then check in with a physician, and request a