Some of the compartment syndrome symptoms are pain in the affected area, swelling and visible bruising of the skin. People will also feel pressure and tension in the compartment along with a feeling of numbness…
Compartment syndrome can be categorized in two sections, acute and chronic, and in both the cases it can be quite painful. Acute compartment syndrome can be caused by injury and immediate medical assistance will be required for treatment. Chronic compartment syndrome is caused due to prolonged exertion of the compartment mostly because of athletic activity. Constant pain is one of the most prominent symptoms.
The compartments are a combination of blood vessels, nerves and muscles covered by fascia. The fascia is rigid and has no or little elasticity and keeps the muscles and nerves in places within the compartment. When swelling occurs in this area, blood supply to the muscles and nerves is cut off and this is known as compartment syndrome. Due to the cut in blood supply, muscles and nerves are deprived of essential nutrients and oxygen. This may lead to permanent muscle and nerve damage if left untreated.
One of the symptoms is pain which refuses to go away even if you take pain medication. The pain mostly is due to the swelling in the region and the inability of the fascia to expand to accommodate the swelling. This leads to build up of pressure in the region and a person will also experience tension and pressure in the affected region. Hence one of the symptoms of compartment syndrome is a feeling of pressure in the affected area. When compartment syndrome develops due to sudden injury one of the universal symptoms of acute compartment syndrome is excruciating pain in the region especially when the muscle is stretched.
Some of the other symptoms of compartment syndrome are numbness in the region; this mostly affects the forearms and lower leg. A person suffering from compartment syndrome in the legs will feel as though the leg has gone off to sleep. They will also experience paresthesia which is unusual skin sensation around the affected region. Individuals will feel as though needles are pricking the region or will experience a burning sensation.
Then there is abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) which is classified by organ dysfunction caused by intra-abdominal hypertension. The abdominal symptoms consist of low blood pressure, irregular cardiovascular activity and elevated intra-cranial pressure (ICP). Another classic symptom of abdominal compartment syndrome is the tenseness of the abdominal wall due to fluid build up. Abnormally small production of urine is also one of the indicators of ACS.
As compartment syndrome is categorized in two parts, acute and chronic, the treatment will also vary. Acute compartment syndrome caused by injury is a medical emergency and orthopedic surgery is the best option. This procedure is known as fasciotomy, in this a surgical incision is made in the fascia to reduce the swelling. Skin grafts might also be needed for successful healing. Chronic compartment syndrome treatment will entail a combination of conservative measures ranging from physical therapy to massages. Sometimes anti-inflammatory medications will also be prescribed along with pain medication although the efficacy of this is not proven. Elevating the affected region and proper rest at times is enough to treat chronic compartment syndrome. Proper rest and a change in training routines at times will prove effective in treating the problem.
The symptoms can be categorized by the 5 P’s, which are pain, paresthesia (abnormal sensations), pallor (pale coloration), paralysis and pulselessness (tn the region where an artery is involved). However, for correct diagnosis unsubsiding pain and paresthesia are the only two defining symptoms of compartmental syndrome.