Compartment Pressure Testing

What is compartment pressure testing?

Compartment pressure testing is a means of identifying and diagnosing sports injuries. The procedure involves inserting a needle into the area where the suspected injury is and measuring the pressure in that area (or compartment) using a system known as the Stryker Intercompartmental Monitoring System. The athlete then exercises until they begin to demonstrate symptoms; at this point the pressure in the area is measured again.

About the test

The test is relatively short and straightforward and can be done by most sports doctors. The results will be available immediately. There may some bleeding where the needle has been inserted; the procedure may also be painful but pain should wear off fairly quickly after the test has been completed.

When is compartment pressure testing used?

Compartment pressure testing is used to identify conditions relating to persistent pain in the lower legs, upper arms and forearms. This method is often used to distinguish CECS (chronic exertional compartment syndrome) from other contributory reasons for ongoing pain in the lower legs. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is fairly rare and a doctor will usually try to eliminate a number of other possible injuries before recommending an athlete undergoes a compartment pressure test.

Common symptoms of the condition include continuous pain in the affected muscle, which may also be coupled with a burning sensation, limited movement in the affected limb, swelling and a tingling sensation around the muscle. This condition is caused by an increase in the pressure of the soft tissue; the reason why this happens is not known, however some experts suggest that continuous explosive actions and movements may contribute to CECS.

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