Shin Pain Treatment Cairns Compartment Syndrome Treatment Cairns

Compartment Syndrome treatment Cairns is provided by the professional team at FNQ Podiatry & Orthotics. What is Compartment Syndrome? To explain let’s look at the biomechanical composition of your lower leg. There are muscles that run from your knee down to your ankle/foot, including your calf muscles, which comprise four different compartments. Each compartment of muscle is surrounded by a thin layer of connective tissue called a fascia; this is the tissue that keeps soft tissue in place and allows the muscles to function efficiently. Compartment Syndrome is a condition that is characterized by a build-up in pressure within one or more of these compartments, resulting in severe discomfort through the lower leg. While each compartment is designed to be able to handle a slight increase in pressure, particularly during exercise, Compartment Syndrome occurs when this pressure increases to the point where there is no more room for the muscles and soft tissues to expand. If you think you may have Compartment Syndrome, we can help with diagnosis and development of an individualised Compartment Syndrome Cairns treatment plan.

There Are Two Types of Compartment Syndrome - We Treat One Of Them

There are two forms of Compartment Syndrome; Acute and Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome. Acute Compartment Syndrome generally occurs secondary to significant trauma to the lower limb e.g. Post surgery, and is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention to release the pressure. Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome is the most common presentation we see in private practice, so our Compartment Syndrome Cairns treatment plans are tailored around this, rather than addressing Acute Compartment Syndrome.

What are the symptoms of Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome?

The symptoms of Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome can vary slightly from patient to patient however the following are commonly reported:

  1. Pain and tightening through the shin or calf region that gets progressively worse the further you run. This is the opposite to shin splints where symptoms typically warm up into a run.
  2. A cramping sensation through the leg that doesn’t release until you stop running.
  3. Some patients describe nerve type sensations e.g. numbness, tingling, burning etc. This occurs when the compartmental pressure builds up enough to irritate a nerve.
  4. Symptoms start to settle fairly quickly post exercise.

What are the risk factors for Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome?

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome often comes on during or immediately after intense exercise, for example a long distance run. There is not one definitive risk factor for Compartment Syndrome however the following are commonly seen in patients presenting with these symptoms:

  • Large/tight calf muscles
  • Incorrect footwear
  • Biomechanical foot issues e.g. excessive pronation
  • Sudden increase in physical activity
  • Previous trauma to the lower limb e.g. surgery

How is Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome Diagnosed?

A thorough clinical examination and history will most commonly be adequate to suggest Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome may be involved, however Intra-compartmental pressure testing is often required to confirm. This process involves pre and post exercise pressure measurements in the affected area to determine if there has been a significant change or not. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, we can prepare an appropriate Compartment Syndrome Cairns Treatment plan, to suit your specific symptoms and biomechanics.

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome Cairns Treatment Options

Unlike Acute Compartment Syndrome that requires urgent surgical intervention, the symptoms of Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome are often managed reasonably well with conservative treatment. Treatment is based around what risk factors are contributing to that particular patient and our team will prepare a tailored Compartment Syndrome Cairns Treatment plan to target these factors. Common treatment modalities include:

  • Dry Needling/deep tissue massage
  • Improving lower limb and core strength
  • Run technique training
  • Custom foot orthotics (insoles)
  • Footwear advice
  • Altering training load

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome Cairns Treatment - Prognosis

Although Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome is a debilitating condition, the majority of patients respond to well conservative treatment which is outlined in our Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome Cairns Treatment plan.

However, there are some cases where symptoms fail to settle and then surgical intervention is required. This process involves a release of the fascia surrounding the affected compartment (Fasciotomy) to therefore allow more room for expansion and reduce the risk of pressure build up.


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