Compartment Pressure Testing London

What is Compartment Pressure Testing?

Compartment Pressure Testing is the ‘Gold Standard’ for diagnosing Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome [CECS].

The test involves inserting a small catheter, under local anaesthetic, into one of the four well-recognized compartments of the lower leg. (Anterior, Lateral, Deep Posterior and Superficial Posterior) When the catheter is in place, the patient is then asked to run until they experience the pain. The pressure is then again measured post exercise.

What are the benefits?

The key benefit of Compartment Pressure Testing is the role it plays in diagnosing CECS, which makes it a vitally useful tool for athletes and runners.

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome is a condition that can be caused by exercise. Repetitive movements, such as running, can induce high pressure within a closed space, which results in decrease tissue perfusion. This causes symptoms such as pain, cramping, burning, tightness and weakness of the effected lower limb.

There are four key factors believed to contribute to an increase in compartment pressure:

1. Inelasticity of the fascial sheath

2. Increase in volume of skeletal muscle secondary to blood volume and edema

3. Muscle hypertrophy in response to exercise

4. Dynamic contraction factors due to demands in the gait cycle

Compartment Pressure Testing is an incredibly useful diagnostic tool to exclude other causes of exercise-induced leg pain such as stress fractures, periostitis, Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome various tendinopathies, neurological compression syndromes and infection.

When the catheter is in place, the patient is then asked to run until they experience the pain.

The pressure is then again measured post exercise.

Along with the history, compartment pressure testing is an extremely useful diagnostic tool to exclude other causes of exercise-induced leg pain such as stress fractures, periostitis, Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome various tendinopathies, neurological compression syndromes and infection.

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