Can You Run With Compartment Syndrome?

Compartment syndrome occurs when the pressure buildup in the muscles resulting from inflammation after an injury or bleeding.So, can you run with compartment syndrome? 

Can You Run With Compartment Syndrome?

These conditions usually affect athletes as demonstrated by observational studies that were done to determine the most prevalent group.

The report shows that the runners are the one who experiences difficulties due training and in most cases, they experience anterior compartment syndrome on the lower leg which can extend and affect the thighs and the foot. 

Can You Run With Compartment Syndrome?

When an athlete has developed compartment syndrome it can be very difficult for him to run or participate in any strenuous activities until the situation is effectively treated. This is because if it is left untreated or unrecognized the complication of acute compartment syndrome can be irreversible. 

The swelling increases and the muscle loses the blood supply which causes eventual death to the cells leading to muscle necrosis. Other complications might include muscle breakdown, kidney damage, permanent nerve damage, amputation, and infection. Compartment syndrome requires immediate treatment so that the athlete can get back on track. 

Read Also: Running Shoes for Compartment Syndrome 

Compartment syndrome is associated with various mechanisms which include the inability to effectively clear metabolic Waste as a result of a decrease in the vascular flow which leads to an increase in pressure and corresponding muscular expansion. 

Extensional compartment syndrome causes difficulty when it comes to athletic activities. However, if it is not serious it can be relieved by taking a rest. The pain can be quite severe which limits the athlete to any activities

Causes of Compartment syndrome

Exercise-induced compartment syndrome is a result of accumulating pressure within the muscles. When the activity level increases the flow of blood to the muscles also increases leading to an increase in the size of the muscles.

Therefore, during strenuous activity, the weight of the muscle can increase by approximately 20% which results in swelling of muscle fibers 20 times more than when at rest.

The most commonly affected part is the leg around the shin bone. Symptoms are normally seen in cross-country runners. The syndrome can also occur in the thighs or any other muscle of the body. 

Symptoms of Compartment Syndrome

Muscle cramps and aching are among the dominant symptoms but they usually stop with the rest as the vascular flow improved and muscle edema allows tissue oxygenation.

Several findings have shown that the compartment syndrome as the following symptoms:-

  • tenderness to palpation on the involved compartment
  • pain requiring an athlete to stop running
  • Pain limited to the anterior component of the lower leg
  • Pain induced by athletic activity

There may be also other symptoms such as tingling, coldness, and numbness in the affected area.

It can be difficult to diagnose compartment syndrome because pain can occur in the same area. A sterile needle will be inserted into the muscle and it is attached to the pressure monitoring device. 

A definitive test for compartment syndrome can be undertaken to determine the extent of intravascular compartment pressure because elevated pressure normally dictates the extent of compartment syndrome. 

Related: How Do You Treat Compartment Syndrome?

Treatment for 

If you are an athlete and you want to continue training for your field events the only treatment option for the compartment syndrome is through surgery which is known as Fasciotomy. This involves making slits on the lower leg to give room for expansion during the exercise. 

Additionally, the location of the compartment syndrome influences the success rate of the surgery. When it is done on the anterior compartment then the success rate is approximately 60 to 80%. However, when surgery is done for the deep posterior compartment the success rate can be approximately 50%.


The good news about the compartment syndrome is that after the surgery the recovery period is usually short. So you can start training with them two weeks after the surgery.

Besides, you can get back on track after the surgery within a due of six to eight weeks although you should start with shorter distances.

It is important to go for regular check-ups after you have undergone surgery and keep yourself fit to prevent further straining on the muscles. It is also good to do simple training until you have fully recovered.

Additionally, if you feel you are experiencing some symptoms of compartment syndrome visit the nearest medical facility before it is too late. 


  1. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome – Symptoms
  2. Compartment syndrome – Wikipedia
  3. Compartment syndrome: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

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