Get answers to your Shoulder and Elbow questions.
The main symptom is pain that does not improve with rest or pain medications, and continues to get worse with time. If the pressure is allowed to continue, there will be:
The doctor will perform a physical exam. If you have compartment syndrome in the forearm, you will have severe pain when the doctor moves the fingers up and down. Your forearm may be very swollen and shiny. You will feel pain when your forearm is squeezed.
The diagnosis can be confirmed with a test that directly measures pressure in the area. This involves inserting a needle into the affected area. The needle is attached to a pressure meter. There is a specific pressure level that confirms the diagnosis of compartment syndrome.
Treatment involves releasing the pressure in the forearm. The fingers and wrist can also be stretched so that they are in a bent (flexion) position to avoid contracture. The fingers and hand are moved to avoid stiffness.
Jobe MT. Compartment syndromes and Volkmann contracture. In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2007:chap 71.
Hensinger RN. Complications of fractures in children. In: Green NE, Swiontkowski MF, eds. Skeletal Trauma in Children. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2008:chap 6.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885