Gary's new website

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Is it really tibial compartment syndrome?

A hockey player who had tibial
compartment syndrome
It looks like "tibial compartment syndrome" is making a popularity comeback!  Some things come and go and this one, characterised by severe and sometimes disabling pain in the calf muscles, is no exception.

Here is an article I wrote several years ago explaining tibial compartment syndrome:

Of course there are genuine cases of tibial compartment syndrome; but, in my opinion, most cases have been incorrectly diagnosed as such.  Most are really cases of severe muscle soreness.  All recent cases that I have seen are female athletes.

Its very important that the diagnosis is correct otherwise the treatment may be completely inappropriate, useless, disfiguring and even disabling.  Treatment of tibial compartment syndrome may begin with acupuncture which may give temporary relief.  It may progress to prolotherapy or steroid injections which are next to useless (in my opinion).  When that fails, then there is still surgery to split open the muscle fascia to allow the muscles to bulge out.  These therapies are disappointing in most cases, other than the use of surgery in an acute emergency.  For chronic cases, the compulsory rest associated with surgery is probably the main driver for recovery.

Some of the "Moller" legs.  Calf muscles require
regular deep tissue massage to help them
withstand the rigours of active lifestyles.
For non-tibial compartment syndrome cases of severe, chronic calf pain the treatment is non-invasive, very safe and remarkably effective.

First: "Why is this ailment apparently more common in women than men?"

It comes down to weak collagen which means the connective tissues in the calf muscle is more easily damaged during activities like running.  Women commonly have weaker collagen due to oestrogen dominance.  Read more about this here:

How to relieve non-tibial compartment syndrome calf pain

  • Deep tissue massage of the affected muscles once a week (if done right the relief by about the 3rd session can be no less than dramatic).
  • Nutrition strategies to improve collagen strength.  Exactly what is done depends on the results of nutrition testing.
  • Where appropriate, changes may be made to a woman's contraception choice to reduce the adverse effects of hormone imbalances.
  • Exercises to strengthen the muscles that maintain foot posture. (refer video - wow! 290,000 views and climbing).
  • Graduated return to running, keeping distances down, avoiding excess downhill and uphill running.
  • Running only every 2nd or 3rd day until 100% free of any discomfort.

About this website
The advice in these articles is given freely without promise or obligation.  Its all about giving you and your family the tools and information to take control of your health and fitness.

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