A compartment syndrome is a problem in athletes when the fascia that surrounds muscles are tight. During exercise muscles expand, so if the fascia is tight the expanding muscle can cause pain. There are a number of treatment options for compartment syndromes, but most often they need surgery to release the tight fascia so that the muscle can expand. Other treatments that were offered generally were not that satisfactory.
In runners anterior compartment syndrome is the most common and this affects the front of the leg, sometimes called ‘shin splints’, which is a really poor term. Most runners did eventually need surgery to treat this. Now we have a new study that took 10 runners facing surgery for an anterior compartment syndrome and started them forefoot striking rather than the heel striking that they were doing originally. All 10 avoided the need for surgery, so this offers hope for those who have anterior compartment syndrome.