Compartment Syndrome

A compartment is a group of muscles surrounded by a non-extensible membrane called fascia. The compartment syndrome is an acute or chronic pain in relation to an excessive pressure inside the muscular compartment.

The main causes of compartment syndrome are :

  • the consequences of an injury, we speak then of an acute compartment syndrome
  • an over-intensive demand due to professional or sporting activity, this is called a chronic compartment syndrome.

The main symptoms are

  • intense and very localized pain in the muscle group concerned
  • swelling, numbness and paresthesia (burning sensation)

To make a precise diagnosis, your surgeon will rely primarily on clinical examination and an in-depth questionnaire on the circumstances of symptom onset. He can rely on complementary examinations such as an ultrasound.

Treatment options

In the case of a chronic compartment syndrome

  • glaze the painful area
  • suspend activities until painful phenomena disappear
  • consider a change in habits (sports training or professional practice) in the most severe cases to avoid the evolution towards an acute syndrome.

Surgical Treatment

Acute compartment syndrome is a surgical emergency ; the procedure is called fasciotomy and consists of :

  • incision of the fascia compressing the muscle group for a quick relief
  • the wound is closed only after the pressure and muscular volume have decreased

At the Bordeaux-Merignac Sport Clinic, this procedure is performed as outpatient basis.