You might have heard the story of Will, a father and a husband who ended his sporting career because of a lower limb compartment syndrome. He’s just one of the so many athletes who’ve suffered such a debilitating condition and whose lives have changed because of it. But what exactly is compartment syndrome and can massage help in alleviating the symptoms of this painful and serious condition?
A compartment is an area within your body that encloses your muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, and which is surrounded by fascia. Compartment Syndrome is a condition when a compartment becomes too small to contain the structures, increasing the pressure within the fascial compartment and restricting blood flow.
It is due to a trauma, such as a car accident or a direct impact to one of the compartments in your arms or legs, that causes impaired circulation.
It is due to an overuse injury where the muscles become too large, causing increased pressure and blood flow restriction.
Acute compartment syndrome usually appears after an injury and worsens quickly. Among the signs and symptoms are:
Chronic compartment syndrome symptoms typically appear gradually during exertion and improve with rest. Among the signs and symptoms are:
Individuals who play sports that require the same constant action, such as running or cycling, should look out for the Syndrome’s symptoms as well as such individuals are prone to Chronic Compartment Syndrome in their lower limbs.
While massage is an absolute contraindication to acute compartment syndrome, it helps manage chronic compartment syndrome. Sports massage can help to relieve muscle tension in the affected area. As a result, the strain on the tendons connecting to the compartment’s bone is reduced, allowing it to heal. It also keeps the condition from reoccurring after you return to your sport.