If you ever experience burning or throbbing pain in your foot or leg that does not subside but continues to grow then it is important to seek medical attention at the earliest opportunity.
What is Compartment Syndrome?
It is possible that you have excessive pressure building up in the muscle compartment of your foot or leg, perhaps following a fracture or another injury. This is known as Compartment Syndrome. The pain is caused by swelling occurring and trapping pressure in the compartments that exist in all our muscles. Blood continues to flow in, but the outward flow is restricted, so that pressure continues to mount and the surrounding area begins to be deprived of the needed nourishment.
Compartment syndrome, can also occur in other places in your body in addition to your foot. Rahim Moore, who plays for the Broncos in the NFL discovered the dangers after nearly losing his leg to Compartment Syndrome. He narrowly avoided the need for amputation after being rushed to hospital in the middle of the night, a journey which may well have saved his life.
Moore describes his injury this way:
“All of a sudden, my leg just got weak,” Moore says. “I felt like I had about 30 Band-Aids on my knee, and there was no feeling down my leg. I started to tear up, and I was like, what’s going on?”
Medical staff diagnosed him with acute compartment syndrome and told him that had he waited to come in until midday on Monday, they would have had had no choice but to amputate his leg. If he had waited longer than that, he could have died.
Six months after diagnosis Moore was finally able to resume his career but he has been left with a wide scar running down the back of his left leg to remind him of how close he came to losing his leg.
How is Compartment Syndrome treated?
If you suspect you may be suffering from Compartment Syndrome then it is important to seek medical attention urgently. Rest the affected area and keep it elevated to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation until you can have your foot examined by medical staff.
Nonsurgical treatments are not effective for Compartment Syndrome. A diagnosis of Compartment Syndrome usually means immediate admission to hospital and surgery to correct the problem.
Surgery can relieve the pressure in the affected area, and is the most effective way to treat Compartment Syndrome. If you have a non emergency issue related to your feet it is still important to see a podiatrist and have your feet examined so that you can begin appropriate treatment and ensure your feet remain in the best possible condition.