The lower leg is divided into four segments or ‘compartments’. They are known as the:
1. Anterior Compartment,
2. Deep Posterior Compartment,
3. Peroneal Compartment, and
4. Superficial Posterior
Each compartment contains muscles, nerves, arteries and veins. Increased pressure to any of these compartments can cause pain, numbness, paraesthesia (tingling/pins & needles), and may result in damage to any of the involved structures.
This pressurisation and ensuing side effects is known as compartment syndrome, and can be either acute or chronic.
● Acute compartment syndrome is caused by severe trauma and requires immediate medical assistance.
● Chronic compartment syndrome is generally exercise induced, it occurs in athletes usually within 30 minutes of exertion. Initially, rest relieves the pain, however as the condition progresses numbness and tingling may occur as the nerves and blood vessels within the compartment become compromised.