Compartment Syndrome Treated by Orthopedic Specialists in Louisville, KY
Compartment syndrome is a painful condition that occurs when pressure builds up in an enclosed bundle of muscles, blood vessels, and nerve fibers, usually in an arm or leg. Because this “compartment” is held in place by an inflexible band of connective tissue (fascia), it cannot expand to accommodate swelling or bleeding within it. The resulting pressure can inhibit the circulation of oxygen-rich blood to the muscles and nerves, leading to symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling sensations. Usually, the pain intensifies when the muscles within the compartment are stretched.
Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency that develops suddenly, usually due to swelling or internal bleeding caused by a traumatic injury, such as a bone fracture or muscle strain. The condition can also develop gradually and become chronic with high-impact endurance exercise that involves repetitive motion, such as long-distance running.
How Is Compartment Syndrome Treated?
Acute compartment syndrome requires immediate surgical treatment. The procedure, which is known as a fasciotomy, involves making an incision in the skin and fascia covering the affected compartment. The goal is to create space to accommodate the swelling or bleeding. Once the problematic swelling or bleeding subsides, the incision is closed.
Chronic compartment syndrome may resolve on its own with rest and activity modifications. During the healing process, some patients benefit from:
- Cross-training with low-impact activities
- Physical therapy
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
To address severe symptoms that do not respond to these treatments, an elective fasciotomy may be an option.
We’ll Help You Get Back on the Move
If you have symptoms of compartment syndrome, you can have your injury evaluated by a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic in Louisville, Kentucky. After determining the extent of your injury with the aid of comprehensive imaging studies, your specialist can recommend the optimal treatment approach. We offer a full range of treatment options for compartment syndrome—both conservative and surgical—as well as sport-specific training to promote recovery, restore muscle strength and flexibility, and help ensure a safe return to physical activity.
Contact Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic today to request a personal consultation at our full-service sports medicine center in Louisville, KY.