Compartment Syndrome

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20/10/2010 at 08:09

Thanks for the info Martin - I've used a baseball(!) for massage for a while, and worked on my running style so I'm more of a forefoot striker.  It's helped a bit. 

 I think catching it early and gettign it investigted is the right thing - really glad it worked for you.  Looking back I've had this for quite a while - but it's only become an issue as I've started to move up to marathons and take things a little more seriously.

20/10/2010 at 15:13

Hi, only just seen this.  I had the ACS op about 15 years ago, following pressure tests.  The consultant was Mr Padhiar and I think that at that time I was something of a guinea pig (he was doing his thesis I think).  Op was successful though follow up was a patchy to say the least - as suggested in previous posts, massage the scar tissue as soon as it appears.  The op was on the NHS at the Royal Free (I think it was) in Whitechapel.

 Prognosis was generally good but as with any traumatic intervention the law of unintended consequences can apply.  Easing the front has meant shins generally work fine (bar effects of scar tissue - two three inch incisions each shin) but calves can sometimes feel the strain.

 Following the op I successfully completed very intensive training and only recently had to slow down, following the time it took to diagnose the need for arthroscopy on my knee (extremely successful, again on NHS).

21/10/2010 at 06:15
Thanks Chris - good to know it was successful.  Will keep posting.
05/11/2010 at 07:57


So I saw a specialist - it turns out that my chronic calf pain is not CCS - it's more likely actually related to back problems and a couple of issues with discs in the L area of my back.  It's called radicular pain, which is similar to sciatica.

 Upshot is that I've been prescribed a course of physio to strengthen my back muscles, so they can hopefully take some of the load off my spine and stop or reduce the nerve impingement.

 So, hopefully there is some solution, although the physio has cautioned that I might not get back to a full training programme. 

thanks for the advice in the previous posts.


Edited: 05/11/2010 at 07:57
09/11/2010 at 12:26

Good to know there are people who recover from this... I'm feeling a little terrified at the moment! I've had chronic CS in both legs for the last 6 months, starting with shin splints, which has developed into this. Haven't been able to run this entire time, used to be able to use the cross trainer instead, but even that is now giving me pain within a few minutes.

Only just realised that this is what my condition is, should be getting tested next week and hopefully will be making progress from there (after several poor diagnoses, including a Vitamin D deficiency and RSI in my legs!), but am petrified about the prospect of surgery (I keep hoping that this time has just been a dream, that I'll wake up tomorrow and trot out an 8-miler... instead I get tight and bruised legs from 15 slow minutes on the bikes..!).

One, because I'm in the middle of a really important and intensive work year, so I can't really afford time out and can't afford to let my work suffer -  how have people dealt with this; there must be weeks you can't do anything in? Two, because of the prospect something might go wrong - presumably everyone on this forum gets a buzz from sport - how do you cope with the prospect of not being able to do it? Three, recovery from surgery sounds awful - I know it sounds crazy, but the idea of not being able to do ANY exercise for three weeks is terrifying. Also, do most people have surgery on both legs; and if so, can you still use crutches?! 

 But the longer I don't get surgery for, the worse it seems to be getting.. the sane person in me knows that I have to just sit at home and stop aggravating my legs, but somehow, I feel like an alchoholic staring at a bottle of vodka the entire time!

 Any advice/tips would be so helpful. Apologies if this seems quite rambly - I think it's only just hit me that my CS is not going to get better with massage and stretching, so am having a bit of a meltdown!


09/11/2010 at 21:46

Hi Shrimpy

I'm the one who thought he had CS and then didn't - got this back problem with nerve impingement giving me leg pain, mainly in my calves.  I wanted to say something reassuring about your situation.

I've run most every week of my adult life (not quite every, but lots more than not).  I'm not running now, and am OK with it.  A bit of swimming a bit of weights in the gym (very low weights, lots of reps, a bit like running), and this physio. 

I love my running and look at this as a temporary hitch, something to get through before I come back an even better runner.  It's an excuse to NOT spend my time running and get in the stretching and cross traiining that I never quite get around to when I'm clocking the miles. But I do miss the miles - although it's good to be in less pain all the time.

I don't deny it's tough - my physio has said that Marathons might be beyond me from now on (a major blow as I've set myself a specific marathon target).  So, I'm thinking "I might be able to, he's not said definately not" and if not then I might change goals and start doing short distance triathlons.

From what I read about CS before I got my diagnosis, most people recover, and if you are young, then there's every chance.  Keep your chin up, you'll work something out.

Good luck, I've got my fingers crossed.


10/11/2010 at 16:49
Thanks Chris for the support, much much appreciated! Will let you know how this thing progresses...will put my "positive thinking" hat on! Best of luck for you too - start with the 10Ks and see where it goes!
10/11/2010 at 19:32

Does anyone know where the nearest place to Newcastle is for compartment testing? My condition is leaving me absolutely devastated as I can only walk or stand for about ten mins before my symptoms start to kick in. I can barely make the journey to work, I cant go to clubs, bars or even shopping round town, and Im not even walking up and down stairs so I have no form of exercise.

 My symptoms start of with an ache, then my leg becomes tighter, then when its really severe it weakens to the point where I can barely stand as it spreads up my whole leg. When my sysmptoms are bad my injured foot  feels colder than my other, although this is purely internal. Ive not responded to physio (massage and accupuncture).

 Ive had a trapped nerve and stress fracture ruled out. My condition started when I did a 62 mile walk and before that I ran a marathon, and since then Ive been completely crippled ever since.

 Does anyone know how much the testing costs private, and if I take a trip to London will I actually be able to walk after the pressure testing? My consultant said that the compartments I seem to be pointing to as the cause of my pain is a very unusual combination. I dont think he can treat me as he wants to refer me to someone in Leicester but then Im in for NHS waiting lists.

 Also when youve gone private how long has it taken from test result to getting your operation?

30/07/2012 at 20:26

Can't believe I started this nearly 4 years ago!

Had the op just under a week ago, and it's been better that I thought. Bruised and painful, but I'm walking without any crutches.

Pretty pleased,but haven't really hadmuch adviceon post-op recovery. Anyone who's had the surgery got any advice on exercises I can try and when I'd be OK to try running?



31/07/2012 at 14:18

You suregon should advise. Sooner the better, get gently running by 2 weeks for sure, you don't want the compartments to scar up tight.

03/08/2012 at 10:09

Thanks, surgeon didn't say much at the time. Two weeks is up next week so will have a go then I guess.

20/08/2012 at 16:49

I have had chronic/severe calf issues, stemming directly from running, for the last 5 years.  During any episode, I was unable to walk heel to toe for anywhere from 1 week to 1 month.  With the exception of a sprained ankle, I was relatively trouble free prior to my calf issues for a dozen years.  I searched the web, including this website, and found all sorts of cures: rollers (bought one) and it is great, but not permanent, Magnesium pills (a suggestion I found on this website) indeterminate as to helpful.  I have used tennis balls, stretched, and the best string of running months was 2-3 months, but I generally crapped out at 2-3 weeks, only having run 2 miles or less in any given outing.  When my calves seized up, there was no amount of stretching that would remove the tightness I would experience.  I went to a specialist at UVA and we discussed surgery for Compartment Syndrome and we also developed a plan of walking/running to trick my calves into taking the load.  Part of this plan was to get PT.  My therapist wanted to try Dry Needling to relieve trigger points in my calves, something she had already done for another injury, and that is what we did.  I have been running for 3 months now, with a mild episode 3 weeks ago.  Prior to this episode, my previous 6 runs had been for 5-7 miles with little problem.  I have been back to PT and never stopped running, but was able to run 2 miles, 3.5 miles, and then 5 miles in the the week and a half of this last go round of PT.  I am not bragging about my accomplishments here, but want to make known that Dry Needling is a definite option to surgery (something that I did not, and won't pursue). I am 43 and an avid runner, I ran religiously everyday from age 24 to 37.  From 33-37  I was only doing maintainance runs of 2 miles or so.  My goal now is to be able to run 5 miles twice a week and it seems to be working well.  If you experience unexplainable tightness in your calves look into Dry Needling.

02/03/2014 at 17:04
It's worth getting a full assessment from an experienced physio. Like someone has posted CS can turn out to be lumbar spine radiculopathy. Also before opting for surgical intervention, try acupuncture (trigger point) and deep sports massage as well as correcting your running technique, orthotics and strengthening gluteus medius. See Like us on Facebook for your nearest clinic.

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