Straight To The Point Blog

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome is a common injury among runners.

Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is one of the most common causes of pain, numbness, and foot drop, most often seen in runners. People feel pain or aching in a specific area, known as the compartment, in their leg. The repetitive impact from running activity is what causes this condition. People will often feel pain as they begin exercise, which worsens with more activity. The pain will usually stop or subside after the person stops exercise.

When a person exercises, their muscles expand. The pain is caused when the fascia, or tissue around the muscle, does not expand with the muscle, causing pressure in that area.

Symptoms of Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome

Symptoms are often common in both legs. Runners experience localized aching or cramping, typically in the lower leg. They may also feel tightness, weakness, swelling, numbness or foot drop. It can sometimes also be mistaken for shin splints.

Typically, runners who are under 30 experience chronic compartment syndrome, though people of any age can also develop it. It occurs mostly among runners, and also those who have increased exercise or are overtraining.


After the doctor has ruled out shin splints and other possibly injuries, he or she can begin treatment. At Point Performance, we can treat chronic exertional compartment syndrome with ultrasound. In this method, we release the fascia with an instrument while avoiding nerves and arteries. This is an alternative option for those who tried conservative treatments that did not work, and avoids having a large incision in the leg.

If you’re a runner who is experiencing pain symptoms similar to compartment syndrome, please call us for an appointment with Dr. Marc Gruner.

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