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Exercise-induced compartment syndrome is a muscle and nerve condition that causes pain, swelling and even disability in the muscles of your arms or legs. If left untreated, the pain and disability associated with this syndrome, also known as chronic exertional compartment syndrome, can stop you from doing the activities you love.

Inova Sports Medicine specialists understand that you value your active lifestyle. We have expertise in diagnosing and treating exercise-induced compartment syndrome in elite athletes and casual walkers alike. Together, we help you return to your daily activities or sports, pain free.

Diagnosing exercise-induced compartment syndrome at Inova Sports Medicine

An accurate diagnosis is the first step to effective treatment. Our diagnosis includes:

  • Assessment: We provide careful and thorough assessments to determine the cause of your discomfort and rule out other causes of your symptoms.
  • Testing: Compartment pressure testing can confirm exercise-induced compartment syndrome. To do this, we inject an anesthetic into your leg. You hop or move your foot up and down for 1-2 minutes. This motion builds up muscle pressure. We insert the pressure monitoring needle and measure the pressure in your legs during the next 10 minutes.
  • Consultation: At our center, you can meet with our team of sports medicine physicians and orthopaedic surgeons to discuss the best options for treatment and recovery.

Surgery for exercise-induced compartment syndrome

Surgery is the primary treatment for chronic exercise-induced compartment syndrome. Surgery relieves the pressure in the compartment by cutting or removing the connective tissue that prevents it from expanding in response to exercise.

If traditional pain-relief recommendations such as medication, rest or changing your routine or body mechanics do not bring relief, we may recommend a consultation with one of our orthopaedic surgeons.