Compartment Syndrome Information

By: Juliet Cohen

Compartment syndrome is a painful condition that results when pressure within the muscles builds to dangerous levels. Common causes of compartment syndrome include tibial or forearm fractures, ischemic-reperfusion following injury, hemorrhage, vascular puncture, intravenous drug injection, casts, prolonged limb compression, crush injuries and burns. Swelling leading to compartment syndrome is associated with high-energy trauma, such as from a car accident or crush injury, or surgery. Compartment syndrome may also occur due to tight bandages or casts; with significant swelling, pressure will build up and can cause compartment syndrome. Chronic compartment syndrome can be caused by repetitive activities like running that increase the pressure in a compartment only during that activity.

Compartment syndrome is most common found the lower leg and forearm, although it can also occur in the hand, foot, thigh and upper arm. Compartment syndrome can be either acute or chronic. Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency. Chronic compartment syndrome is not a medical emergency. Symptoms dissipate quickly when activity stops. Compartment pressures may remain elevated for some time afterwards. Treatment for both acute and chronic compartment syndrome is usually surgery. Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency requiring immediate surgical treatment known as a fasciotomy. Conservative treatment includes rest, anti-inflammatories, and stretching. In cases where symptoms persist the condition should be treated by a surgical procedure.

Subcutaneous fasciotomy or open fasciectomy. Sometime nonsurgical management is also helpful. Nonsurgical management may include avoiding doing activities that cause pain and swelling ,applying ice and elevating the limb slightly ,taking aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and increased cushioning in shoes. Do not wrap the leg because this will increase the pressure and aggravate the condition. Mannitol may reduce compartment pressures and lessen reperfusion injury. Chronic conservative treatment may be of some benefit e.g. physiotherapy: deep massage of the compartments, ultrasound, interferential therapy, magnetic field therapy, a lot of stretching and ice. People placed in casts need to be made aware of the risk of swelling and need to see their health care provider.

Compartment Syndrome Treatment and Prevention Tips

1. Apply heat and use a heat retainer.

2. Avoiding doing activities that cause pain and swelling.

3. Applying Ice and elevating the limb slightly.

4. Taking aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation.

5. Wear the right footwear, and rung on soft surfaces.

6. Surgical is also recommended treatment.

Top Searches on
Medical Conditions
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Medical Conditions
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles