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Compartment syndromes

What is compartment syndrome?

Compartment syndrome is a painful condition caused by bleeding or swelling within an enclosed bundle of muscles (a muscle ‘compartment’). Each group of muscles in the arms and legs, together with the blood vessels and nerves, is contained in an enclosed space surrounded by layers of tissue called fascia. The tough fascia keeps the tissues in place and does not easily stretch or expand, so the pressure inside the compartment can easily increase if bleeding or swelling occurs.

Compartment syndrome can happen suddenly, after an injury, or gradually after a long period of repetitive-motion exercise, such as running or cycling. This is called chronic compartment syndrome.

How do we treat compartment syndrome at the Mansfield Clinic?

Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency, and needs to be dealt with in hospital. Chronic compartment syndrome is much less serious, and the challenge is always to make the diagnosis. Other causes of muscle pain, such as tendinitis, have first of all to be ruled out. Dr Allfree will give you a thorough assessment and examination. If he thinks you have chronic compartment syndrome, he will give you appropriate advice and treatment.

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