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What is compartment syndrome?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2021 | Injuries |

Serious car accidents can cause a wide range of effects. Along with head injuries and spinal cord damage, you can also experience significant muscle injuries.

According to Healthline, compartment syndrome occurs because of intense pressure within muscle compartments, which are groupings of tissues covered by fascia. Because this fascia does not expand as pressure increases, there is a risk of injury to muscles, as well as nerves and blood vessels.

Types of compartment syndrome

Chronic compartment syndrome usually results from exercise and most often affects people under the age of 40. It usually results from fitness activities like swimming and running.

There is also an acute form of the condition, which accompanies serious injuries. Crushing injuries, bone fractures, and severe muscle bruises can all increase your risk of developing acute compartment syndrome. Regardless of the underlying cause, sufferers of acute disorders require immediate medical intervention to prevent worsening effects.

Signs of acute compartment syndrome

Symptoms typically emerge in the days following the injury. You will experience intense pain, even if you are taking strong pain relievers prescribed by your doctor. This pain usually gets worse when moving the affected limb. Stretching is particularly painful for people with compartment syndrome.

The affected muscle will also feel tight and uncomfortable. You may experience a pins and needles sensation in the area. Burning is another common effect of major muscle damage. If treatment is not sought immediately, the tissues can die, which results in a feeling of numbness. This can also result in paralysis of the affected limb.

While doctors use non-surgical methods first for non-acute compartment syndrome, acute forms of the disorder require surgery. In severe cases, the affected limb might require amputation.