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How to Ease the Internal and External Pressures of Painful Compartment Syndrome

Man with an arm wound lies in a hospital bed and holds his girlfriend's handHave you ever disregarded a sprained ankle or stubbed toe only to feel an undeniably uncomfortable pressure around the area hours later? Although you may have chalked up the discomfort to swelling, when an injury is severe enough to affect a muscle, this “inflammation” could easily turn into something doctors call compartment syndrome (CS).

It’s a deadly serious complication.

When Swelling Turns Fatal

Simply put, compartment syndrome is an injury complication that causes bleeding and increased pressure within muscle tissue “compartments.” Groups of organs and muscles are organized into these compartments, surrounded by strong and inflexible webs of connective tissue called fascia. When the fascia is injured, blood and fluids rush toward the area, causing pressure within the compartment. The dangerously high pressure in the muscle tissue impedes the flow of blood throughout the affected tissues. If the pressure is not released, it builds up inside the tissue and causes severe pain and muscle deterioration.

Maritime workers often hear about the dangers of compartment syndrome, as it is a common complication with crush injuries and confined space traumas. However, compartment syndrome isn’t confined to one area of injury. In fact, many personal injuries from car accidents, construction work, and everyday muscle traumas can lead to this debilitating condition.

Compartment Syndrome Treatment

Depending on the severity of your CS, treatment options can be limited and invasive, not to mention expensive.

  • Chronic CS. Chronic compartment syndrome occurs when the fascia muscles are overextended due to repetitive motion, exercise, and extreme physical labor. The majority of CS cases are considered chronic and are related to workplace traumas. This type of CS can be managed through physical therapy, a decrease in work duties, and an increase in rest.
  • Acute CS. Acute compartment syndrome occurs as a direct result of muscle, bone, and tissue trauma caused by crush injuries. immobilization trauma, fractures, and impact force wounds. As the pressure builds with nowhere to go, acute CS becomes a surgical emergency. There is no effective nonsurgical treatment. The pressure must be released via a surgeon cutting open the skin and fascia (fasciotomy) to allow the excess blood and fluid to drain. In some cases, the incision will need to remain open until all of the swelling has subsided.
  • Abdominal CS. Abdominal compartment syndrome occurs when the affected compartment injury is located in the abdominal region. This type of CS is extremely dangerous as the pressure can build and constrict blood flow to organs as well as to the brain and spinal cord, causing severe damage. Treatment for abdominal CS includes a fasciotomy to relieve pressure, life support to ensure circulation and blood flow, and medications to control blood pressure throughout the body to prevent venous blowouts.

The Release You Need

Even though compartment syndrome is a severe disorder that cannot be ignored, suffering from the condition doesn't mean you’re trapped. Depending on the cause of your injuries and the circumstances of the diagnosis, you may be eligible to receive compensation for medical treatment and lost wages.

To learn more about compartment syndrome and your rights under personal injury law, please feel free to browse our collection of informative blogs, articles, and resources. To speak with an experienced attorney about your specific case, contact our office today to schedule your FREE claim evaluation. Don’t allow yourself to become crushed under the weight of your injury costs and insurance worries. Allow our experience and fortitude to lift you up so you can fight back. Click or call today to see how we can help you break free.


Steven M. Lee
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