Compartment syndrome develops when swelling or bleeding occurs within a compartment in a limb. If blood flow to the muscle and nerve cells are disrupted, it can increase pressure on the capillaries, nerves, and muscles in the compartment. Compartment syndrome usually occurs in the front compartment of the lower leg, but can also occur in different compartments of the leg, arms, hands, feet, and buttocks. Compartment syndrome is classified as being either acute or chronic. Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency, usually due to a traumatic injury, and must be addressed immediately to avoid irreversible consequences, such as limb loss. Chronic compartment syndrome develops over time, usually due to excessive or inefficient exercise exertion.
A classic sign of compartment syndrome is intense pain through the stretching of the muscle or a tingling or burning sensation on the skin and the muscle. Numbness or paralysis are late signs of compartment syndrome and usually indicate permanent tissue injury.
Compartment syndrome usually occurs after a major injury such as a broken bone, a car accident, or any trauma to the particular area. It can be caused by a fracture, a badly bruised muscle, crush injuries, reestablished blood flow after blocked circulation, constricting bandages such as casts, and the use of anabolic steroids.
The symptoms of Chronic Compartment Syndrome can be improved through physical therapy. A physical therapist will play an important role in the treatment of the condition whether or not it requires surgery, and he or she will work with you to design an individualized treatment program based on your condition and your personal goals. A typical program will combine range-of-motion exercises, manual therapy, muscle strengthening, and ice and heat therapy. Your physical therapist will also educate you on proper footwear, avoiding certain activities, and modifying your lifestyle.
Did you know that you have Direct Access to Physical Therapy? No referral is needed. We offer the best Physical Therapy on Long Island where you can get help from our trusted and expert Physical Therapists. We have several locations on Long Island including Massapequa, Valley Stream, Wantagh, and Lindenhurst. To start your Physical Therapy evaluation, call Park Physical Therapy and The Physical Therapy Alliance at (516) 568-4444.