So, what is compartment syndrome?
It is a serious condition that involves increased pressure in a muscle compartment. It can lead to muscle and nerve damage and problems with blood flow.
The compartment I am having problems with is my shin/calf (lower leg) which is the most common area. If the problem isn't treated it can lead to the muscles dying and having to have your limb amputated. EEEEEK.
I will need to schedule to have a test done within the next week that will determine if this is an accurate diagnosis. My physician will insert needles into the affected area (OUCH!) and read the pressure in the compartment. Then I will run on the treadmill until I start experiencing my symptoms (foot drop, numb foot, pain in my lower leg). At that point he will re-insert the needles and read the pressure again.
If the diagnosis is confirmed to be compartment syndrome there are several treatment options. Mostly this will involve rest and extensive physical therapy. If it is diagnosed to be a more severe case then I will have to have surgery to relieve the pressure in my leg.
My physician seems to think I will recover from this quickly once we know what we are dealing with. At first he told me ZERO running, spin or elliptical until I have the test. I was freaking out about that. Then once he saw that my x- rays were good he said I could run every other day for a couple of easy miles and I could spin and use the elliptical to my little heart's content. Unfortunately I haven't been able to schedule the test because he has to order the needles. LOVELY.
I am feeling pretty confident that I am finally (after 6 long months) on the road to healing and getting back on track. I am pretty upset with myself for letting this pain go on for so long. Seriously, you would think a numb foot would make me stop running, but apparently I am too dumb to realize that. My physician told me that I had dug myself into a really deep hole and that if I didn't listen to him now a fall marathon and even Boston would be completely out of the question. I think he got my attention with that comment!
So the last couple of days I have been cross training like a crazy lady. I tried to run 2-3 easy miles on Friday and it didn't go so well. I ended up in tears and cried for more then half of the 2 miles I was able to complete. It was a struggle to maintain 9:00 min miles and I felt defeated when I got back to my house. Today I was able to run 3 miles in an 8:21 pace. It wasn't pretty and it hurt, but I finished.
My goal is to train for the St. George Marathon in October, but if that doesn't happen it doesn't. I will be fin with a decision to not run if it comes to that because really Boston is the "big picture" for me. My coach has been wonderful and tremendously supportive. Luckily, my new physician and my coach know each other so I feel like it will be a good team effort between the 3 of us to get me back to where I was 6 months ago.
Questions for you:
Have you ever had compartment syndrome? What did your treatment plan involve?