Health and Fitness

What is anterior compartment syndrome?

Running may seem like a simple exercise to take up to improve health and fitness. However, it is not quite as straightforward as it may seem with some research showing that up to 70% of runners have an overuse injury each year. Depending upon how bad that overuse injury is and how it is maintained, many runners just give up and don't continue to run. The factors that cause running injury are multiple however they are related to problems for example carrying out too much running too soon before letting your body to adjust to the increased levels of exercise. Inadequate running shoes with characteristics that do not match up those of the runners needs will also be an issue. Problems with foot biomechanics as well as the running technique could also be problems at increasing the possibility for an overuse injury.

An example of a running injury is anterior compartment syndrome. There is fibrous fascia surrounding muscles that hold the muscles in place. If this fascia is tight, if we exercise the muscle would like to expand however that restricted fascia prevents it. That pressure within the fascia compartment is usually painful. In anterior compartment syndrome, this affects the muscles that are on front of the lower leg. The most common reason for this condition is what is called overstriding. In this the runner is hitting the ground with their front leg too far in front of the body. To lower the foot to the ground, the anterior leg muscles have to work harder. As they continue to work harder, the muscles expand and if the fascia does not allow it, then this will become painful. It is going to only hurt when running and won't be painful when not running. The easiest method to deal with  anterior compartment syndrome to use techniques for the runner to shorten their stride length in order that the lead foot does not contact the ground too far in front of the body when running.

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