Muscle pain impairs training and quality of life
The leg muscles are arranged in four compartments surrounded by a thin, fibrous tissue called the fascia. It is as if these muscles become "semi-indestructible" within these compartments of firm walls. Compartment syndrome is characterized by a condition in which repetitive trauma or exercise causes increased pressure in the musculofascial compartment, causing pain that may be associated with swelling, tingling, and muscle weakness.
Chronic leg compartment syndrome is one of the most common exercise-induced injuries in sports.
Chronic leg compartment syndrome is one of the most common injuries to the leg muscles. most common injuries induced by exercise in sports practices, where overload accompanied by repetitive impact occurs, particularly in running sports and military training. The repetitive axial loads caused during the race increase the compartment pressure. There are also reports of chronic compartment syndrome in the forearm of motorcyclists.
The athlete initiates physical activity without pain and after a certain period of exercise refers to pain associated or not with changes in sensitivity in the lateral region of the leg, symptoms alleviate with rest and not are manifested during daily life activity. The symptoms appear with the same periodicity, usually the athlete refers pain after a certain time or distance traveled starts with pain. The manifestations are bilateral in 75% to 95% of cases.
Diagnosis and treatment
The difficult diagnosis of chronic compartment syndrome is due to the fact that the clinical manifestations presented are nonspecific. There are several causes of muscular pain in athletes and for accurate diagnosis it is necessary for the physician to be aware of the athlete's activities, in addition to his daily activities and all the symptoms that the patient is feeling. are normal but should be performed to rule out differential diagnoses such as tibialgia, perostitis or stress fracture, which has some symptoms very similar to compartment syndrome. Dynamic tests performed during and shortly after physical activity are required when starting pain. One can perform MRI or possibly Ultrasound. However, even with the dynamic test, it can present normal images.
The most accurate diagnosis is obtained through intra-compartmental pressure measurements evaluated in the pre- and post-exercise periods using precision instruments. Any compartment pressure greater than 30 mmHg , measured one minute after exercise, or pressure greater than 20 mmHg 5 minutes after the exertion, are considered positive diagnoses of compartment syndrome.
The option of physiotherapeutic treatment should be considered as an option to end this uncomfortable However, in cases where the evolution is not satisfactory, the treatment is surgical and consists of the release of the little elastic tissue that surrounds the affected muscle compartments, allowing muscle contraction and expansion without compression of the leg muscle by the elastic fascia , although the result may sometimes not be as expected.
The important thing is not to continue living with the pain. In addition to impairing the outcome of the exercise, a chronic nuisance like this can greatly decrease the quality of life of those people who enjoy playing sports and keeping fit.
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