Compartment Syndrome Anatomy
- There are four compartments in the lower leg.
- Anterior Compartment
- Muscles: tibialis anterior, extensor hallucis longus, extensor digitorum longus, and peroneus tertius
- Action of muscles: dorsiflexion of foot (bring foot up towards you)
- Nerve: deep peroneal nerve
- Lateral Compartment
- Muscles: peroneus longus and brevis
- Action of muscles: eversion (turning foot out) and plantarflexion (pointing foot/toes down)
- Nerve: common peroneal nerve
- Superficial posterior compartment:
- Muscles: gastrocnemius, soleus, and plantaris
- Action of muscles: plantarflexion (pointing foot/toes down)
- Deep posterior compartment:
- Muscles: tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum longus, and flexor hallucis longus
- Action of muscles: plantarflexion (pointing foot/toes down) and inversion (turning foot in)
- Nerve: tibial nerve
What is Compartment Syndrome?
- Compartment pain and swelling brought on by exercise that is relieved by rest.
- Can be acute or chronic
- Acute: Usually from a trauma – this can be a medical emergency and if left untreated can result in permanent damage.
- Chronic: Usually called exertional compartment syndrome. This is most common in athletes.
How Does Compartment Syndrome Happen?
- Occurs when bleeding or swelling occurs within a certain compartment
- When the fascia around the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels does not move and compresses the components within.
- When the blood flow to the muscles and nerves is restricted, thus not allowing the appropriate nutrients into the area.
Causes of Compartment Syndrome
- Major trauma:
- Significant direct impact resulting in bruising
- Crush injuries or car accidents
- Restricting bandages, casts, braces, etc.
- Steroid use
- People taking anticoagulants
- Long periods of immobility (i.e. bed rest)
- Major trauma:
- Pain and swelling with repetitive exercise
- Risk Factors
- Age: Typically occurs in people under the age of 30
- Repetitive exercises
- Working out too hard or too frequently
Symptoms of Compartment Syndrome
- Pain w/ passive stretch
- Feels overly tight
- Poor temperature regulation
- Palpable swelling
- Peripheral pulses absent
- Also can have pale skin
- Weakness of leg
- Common to occur in same compartment on both legs
- Pain often occurs at the same distance, time, or exertional level.
- Pain progressively gets worse the longer you exercise.
- Pain normally stops within 15-20 minutes after you stop exercising.
Compartment Syndrome Physical Therapy In Edina, MN
If you are experiencing any symptoms of compartment syndrome please contact us today to set up your appointment with a Minnesota physical therapist. We have physical therapy clinics located in Minneapolis and Edina.