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Compartment Syndrome in Runners

Anterior compartment syndrome or chronic exertional compartment syndrome in runners has always been a frustrating injury for clinicians to treat…

By Craig Payne , in Running , at March 18, 2020 Tags: ,


Anterior compartment syndrome or chronic exertional compartment syndrome in runners has always been a frustrating injury for clinicians to treat as outcomes were often less than satisfactory. This is an exertional pressure related syndrome typically involving the anterior tibial muscle.

Typically the symptoms start of as pain and tightness in the front of the leg that comes on after a set distance. The pain is relived with stopping running. There are multiple suggested treatments, most of which do not generally give satisfactory results as the condition is due to the expanding muscle in a tight fascial compartment. There is not really a satisfactory way to prevent that. In the past this has meant that for many the only satisfactory outcome is from a surgical decompression of that tight fascial tight compartment.

Having said that, more recently it became apparent that shorting the stride length and changing the foot strike pattern to more of a midfoot or forefoot strike was giving some quite remarkable results in this condition. Doing this substantially reduces the activity of the anterior tibial muscle as it is not recruited when running that was. The anterior tibial muscle is much more active in a heel strike gait as the muscle lowers the foot to the ground at heel strike. If a midfoot or forefoot strike is used, then the anterior muscle is not recruited. For more see the resources below:

Resources:
1. http://www.running-shoe-rx.com/which-running-shoes-for-anterior-compartment-syndrome/
2. http://www.runresearchjunkie.com/should-we-transition-all-anterior-compartment-syndromes-to-forefoot-striking/
3. https://podiatryarena.com/index.php?threads/effects-of-forefoot-running-on-chronic-exertional-compartment-syndrome.72639/
4. http://craigbpayne.info/anterior-compartment-syndrome/
5. https://www.kinetic-revolution.com/forefoot-running-for-anterior-compartment-syndrome/

Craig Payne
University lecturer, writer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, science communicator, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger, dad.

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