Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome

Understanding Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome

What is Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome?

  • Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome is an exercise induced muscle and nerve condition that causes pain, swelling and sometimes disability in the affected muscle
    • Most often the arm or the leg
  • It can occur in all ages, but is localized to athletes who participate in repetitive impact exercises
    • Ie: running, fast walking


Symptoms often begin when you start exercising and worsen the longer you exercise. Most often the symptoms stop within 30mins after rest. However over time the symptoms persist longer and longer after exercising, sometimes lingering for a day or two.

  • Aching, burning or cramping pain
  • Tightness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Foot drop: difficulty lifting the front part of the foot resulting in a heavy drop of the forefoot
  • Swelling or bulging


  • Excessive pressure in a muscle segment/compartment
    • Connective tissue holding the muscle fibers doesn’t expand when muscles expand causing pressure build up leading to a cut off of blood supply
  • Enlarged muscles
    • Thick band of tissue around a muscle
    • High pressure in the veins


  • Massage Therapy
    • Massage Therapy  to help reduce pressure in the affected muscle
  • Custom Foot Orthotics
    • Custom Foot Orthotics help to provide stability and absorb shock when performing a high impact exercise.
  • Take a break from the exercise
    • Start performing low impact activities once a medical professional signs off on it


  • Perform warm up and cool down stretches before and after exe4rcising
  • Stop performing an activity if you’re in pain
  • Stay hydrated

If you recently started running or training for a marathon watch out for shin splints and medial tibial stress syndrome. If you’re not careful you may end up with this -condition – it is not fun when you have to completely stop the activity all together.

Related posts: Running InjuriesPlantar Fasciitis, Shin SplintsAchilles Tendonitis

Backs in Action East Vancouver Injury Treatment Centre

Come to Backs in Action Wellness Centre for Massage Therapy or for a GaitScan Analysis and Postural Assessment!

We are open Monday to Friday and are accepting new patients! We would love to help get you back into action!

2917 Hebb Avenue Vancouver BC

Phone: 604-876-9977                 Email: