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bricksandstones
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2015
297 posts

Any experience with chronic exertional compartment syndrome?
I'm a 29 year old physically active male, but I have dealt with what I can only guess is CECS for over a year, believing it was shin splints. Whenever I run for about 1/2 mile or longer, or play basketball for any length, the muscles along the outside of my shin swell and tighten, to the point where the muscle and my feet begin to go numb.

I saw an orthopaedic specialist this morning who agrees that these symptoms are typical of CECS. I am scheduled to get a pressure test run where they stick needles in my muscles and measure pressure levels. From what I understand, the only real solution is surgical, and that is not even a 100% fix.

I would appreciate feedback from someone who has dealt with this or has firsthand experience on what to expect. TIA


CatfishJohn
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2020
2664 posts

re: Any experience with chronic exertional compartment syndrome?
I like to consider myself a highly educated 41 year old guy with a lot of life experience. And I work in healthcare.

And I've never heard of this


bricksandstones
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2015
297 posts

re: Any experience with chronic exertional compartment syndrome?
Mayo Clinic Overview

So you know I'm not making it up. I only know about this from trying to research what I'm experiencing. It has something to do with the facia of the muscle constricting bloodflow out of the muscle, hence the swelling and numbness.

The same thing can happen to limbs during traumatic accidents, which is called Acute compartment syndrome and is much more serious. It can even lead to loss of limbs. The surgical procedure to relieve this swelling is called a fasciotomoy and basically calls for a large incision in the fascia to relieve pressure.


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tigercross
Member since Feb 2008
3577 posts

re: Any experience with chronic exertional compartment syndrome?
I dealt with this condition throughout my high school & collegiate running careers. By luck I found out that the problem more or less disappeared if I ran in shoes with minimal cushioning, so I never had to go the surgical route. From what I've read, the surgery has a pretty rough recovery and not an awesome success rate.


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boxcarbarney
LSU Fan
Constantinople Street
Member since Jul 2007
17614 posts

re: Any experience with chronic exertional compartment syndrome?
I have no personal experience with it, though from what I understand Myofascial release therapy may help. I'd look into that before deciding on surgery.


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AyyyBaw
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2020
378 posts

re: Any experience with chronic exertional compartment syndrome?
I had similar symptoms from running anything further than 1/2 mile. That was about 4-5 years ago and symptoms started when I switched shoes to a heavily cushioned high heel lift running shoe. I stopped using those shoes and started using shoes with about 4mm heel lift and symptoms went away gradually. Hope you find an fix.


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bricksandstones
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2015
297 posts

re: Any experience with chronic exertional compartment syndrome?
Update on this because some might find it interesting. I visited an ortho specialist who quickly confirmed my suspicions/ fears.

He ran something called a pressure test on four different compartments in my legs which involved sticking a giant arse needle into my legs (after numbing shots) and checking my pressure like you would a tire or football. He than had me run a mile on the treadmill then checked again.



Apparently my pressure numbers were extremely high and he pretty much told me surgery was my only fix then and there. He says this is a genetic problem and very rare. Just drew the short straw apparently. Oh well. I am told that the procedure has a 96% success rate for the anterior chamber so fairly good outlook.

He scheduled me for a surgery on New Year’s Eve. Great way to wrap the year. I had the fasciotomy done on the anterior chamber of each leg. He opened up a threeish inch incision on each and then ran up my legs opening each compartment

The first week of recovery was pretty rough and I needed a walker to get around. Had plenty of football to watch and holiday food to eat. Stayed on pain medication about a week. Doing better and healing now but will have some moderate scarring.

I will probably have the go ahead to try running again around March. Hoping to work myself back into shape. It has been tough maintaining a caloric deficit when I basically haven’t been able to run or play sports the last three years but my lift numbers are quite respectable. Here’s to getting back on your feet in the 2021 baws.


LSUfan20005
LSU Fan
Member since Sep 2012
6543 posts

re: Any experience with chronic exertional compartment syndrome?
Does the surgery keep a “hole” in the fascia?

I had chronic shin issues years ago and developed hernias “holes” in both shins. If my shins get too tight, the tissue sort of bubbles through visibly. So I do SMR and stretching very often.

A few years ago I saw a Dr about it in a bit of paranoia and he told me it’s nothing to worry about, that my body fixed the pressure issue on its own. Apparently it’s common in the upper thigh as well.


bricksandstones
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2015
297 posts

re: Any experience with chronic exertional compartment syndrome?
That is a good question. My understanding was that the fascia would heal and reconnect, just with more "slack" so that the muscles are unrestricted. I have a follow-up to gey my stitches removed on Thursday and will make a point to have this clarified.


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